Veterans Day in Delaware was marked in several ways. A tradition now in its 58th year took place in New Castle County. In Kent County a new Vietnam War memorial was unveiled.
Several hundred people gathered inside a large tent to remember and honor members of U.S. military this morning at the memorial plaza near the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It’s been the site of somber ceremonies since the bridge first opened in 1951.
This year’s ceremony had a greater weight for many in Delaware who had friends or loved ones serving in Iraq with the 261st Signal Brigade. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was one of those soldiers. “I’ve been at this event many, many times over many, many years, and thought I understood what it was about. I have a new found appreciation for what this day’s about.” Biden says it’s not enough to recognize the past service of veterans on this day, “What we need to do is recognize what you continue to do.”
This year’s event also comes less than a week after the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas. “To see so many people lose so many lives is just abhorrent and truly tragic,” said Senator Tom Carper (D). But Carper says Veteran’s Day is not just a somber, sad day. “It’s also a happy day. A day to celebrate the lives of all who have served and continue to serve.”
In Dover, Kent County unveiled a Vietnam Memorial. The monument was organized by Delaware Chapter 850 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. It was a two year effort to raise the money to build the Indian Rose and black granite monument, the first of its kind in Kent County. Members of the Delaware congressional delegation, Dover Mayor Carleton Carey, and Governor Jack Markell were on hand to honor the 26 names on the monument. A 27th name, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Mark Wendell Minear will be added at a later date.
A presentation was made to Chapter 850 President Joseph Startt of an Army Air medal he never received in Vietnam. Most of men honored on Veterans Day averaged between 19-22 years old. The oldest honoree was 44 year old Chief Master Sergeant Harold Haddick of the Air Force. The highest ranking honoree was Air Force Lt. Col. John Murray.
The weather hampered the dedication, but not the spirit. All of the dignitaries moved in doors because of the rain.