As drivers move along South Little Creek Road it is hard to miss the stone monument sitting on the corner of the Levy Court property. The monument was erected to commemorate those who were lost in the Vietnam War, and on Saturday a service is scheduled to be held on the site to honor those who fought in that conflict.
Both the state and the national government have declared March 30 as Vietnam Veterans Day. The Kent County chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America will be commemorating the day with a ceremony at the Kent County Memorial Park.
The Kent County Veterans have created a variety of memorials at the park ever since the original monument was dedicated in 2009, which was when the land was donated by the Kent County Levy Court. Also on site is a Gold Star Memorial for the mothers and families of those Delawareans who have died in conflicts, which they unveiled last Veterans Day.
“We feel like those lost in conflict need to be memorialized,” said Dave Skocik, the event’s organizer. “We were the last county to have a memorial so we need to do it right.”
Their efforts to build up the park continue today. The group is currently working to obtain a Huey Helicopter placed at the site. On Saturday they will also be unveiling of a plaque which will feature the names of the major contributors to the memorial back in 2009.
Aside from the monuments, the site also features bricks which can be bought in honor of anyone, not just those who have served.
“If they buy a brick it means that they support the memorials,” Skocik said.
On Saturday they will be unveiling a brick in honor of. Airman Elizabeth Loncki, who at the age of 23 was killed by an IED in Iraq.
The Vietnam Veterans are reaching a hand out to the younger generation of service men and women by creating a monument for those who have been lost during service in the Middle East from 1991 to the present. On Saturday they will place a sign to mark where the memorial will be placed.
“We suspect that the younger generation of warriors isn’t old enough yet to wrap their minds around having a memorial, so we decided we would do it for them,” Skocik said. “The Vietnam Veterans of America motto is ‘Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.’ This is to ensure that subsequent warriors would not come back to a conflicted country that blamed them for the war.”
The day’s speaker, Sam Chick, an Iraq veteran who served with the 101 Airborne, will also touch on that topic. He will speak about the common experience of all service men and women, regardless the conflict.
“We want to underscore the fact that it is called Veterans Memorial Park; it’s not about just one conflict,” Skocik said.
The event is also set to feature musical performances and the reading of the 28 names of the Kent Countians who lost their lives in Vietnam. The event will start at 10 a.m. on March 30. If the weather does not permit the group from holding the event at the Memorial Park on South Little Creek Road then the ceremony will be moved into the Levy Court Chambers in the Kent County Complex next door.