Kent Vietnam Veterans host 'virtual' Memorial Day ceremony
At 10 a.m., May 25, Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America, in conjunction with the Veterans Story Project, will stream a virtual Memorial Day ceremony at www.VeteransStoryProject.com.
The presentation will be available afterward on the site as well as on other social media sites, according to Dave Skocik, public affairs officer for Delaware’s VVA Council.
“With nearly all public events being cancelled because of the Corona virus, we decided our state and nation’s heroes who gave their lives for our freedoms should be honored in some public fashion,” said Paul Davis, State VVA Council president.
T.J. Healy, a professional filmmaker and fellow Vietnam veteran, agreed. Skocik contacted a number of the people usually involved with its three annual ceremonies each year to create a virtual ceremony. The location chosen was the Commission of Veterans Services office in Dover where presenters could be individually taped meeting social separation guidelines. Presenters arrived at staggered times and wore facemasks until stepping before the camera.
“The entire production of this first-time effort, including scheduling, shooting and editing, took about four days, and we are truly proud of the outcome,” said Davis.
Presenters included Dave Skocik, emcee; Dr. Larence Kirby, executive director of the Commission of Veterans Services; Izzy (Elizabeth) Mitchell, a child delivering the pledge of allegiance; Rev. Bill Downing chapter chaplain; Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen; Joe Startt Jr., chapter president; Paul Davis, VVA State Council president; and keynote speaker retired Navy Master Chief Charles “Chuck” Baldwin.
During a 25-year Navy career, Baldwin served in many roles across the globe, including Vietnam and the Persian Gulf. During Operation Desert Shield he served as Command Master Chief of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its 5,000 sailors.
A published author, he holds a master’s degree in secondary school leadership and co-founded Wilmington’s Delaware Military Academy and was an advisor in the founding of the First State Military Academy in Clayton.
The video includes a roll call of Kent Countians who lost their lives in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.