Delaware’s Veterans Memorial Plaza was dedicated Monday to those who gave their lives in the line of duty — by city, county, state and U.S. officials.
“Memorial Day is very special to me,” said keynote speaker Joe DiGenova, a Delaware City Council member and Vietnam veteran. “Memorial Day is not about division; it is about coming together.”
DiGenova was a key person in the memorial plaza becoming a reality. “This Memorial Plaza is a remembrance needed to return the solemn and even sacred spirit back to Memorial Day,” he said. “A place of remembrance to reflect and honor those that have given their all in the service of their country.”
Veterans from several modern wars came to see the dedication.
Purple Heart recipient Robert Burr said, “I represent the ones that didn’t make it back from Heartbreak Ridge in the Korean War.”
“A lot of my buddies didn’t make it,” he said. “For some reason God spared me. I don’t know why because I’ve been rotten at times.”
Burr was one of the citizens behind getting the memorial plaza designed. “I had no idea that they were going to make it as great as they did,” he said. The memorial will be lit at night. “I’m going to make a special trip over here to see it,” Burr said.
Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis spoke about veterans who still fight a different kind of war. “This Memorial Plaza is dedicated to them and all our esteemed military veterans,” she said. “It is also a reminder that some of our veterans are still fighting battles and need our love and support.”
Bob Summerfield, who served in Desert Storm for nine months, talked about the educational value of the memorial for future generations. “I really like it. It’s a great opportunity for everybody to learn about the veterans.”
“During peacetime, people don’t seem to forget veterans but they seem to be put on the back burner at times.” said Richard Mason, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad. “I really think this is awesome, every war left to right, to the last war, I think it is fantastic.”
Jim Wasil, a representative from the office of Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, read a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich and Taylor: “We are truly blessed to live in a land of unparalleled liberty and opportunity but these blessings do not come to us without a cost. They are bought and paid for by the service and sacrifice of generations of American military men and women. Veterans Memorial Plaza will forever serve as a reminder of the price we paid for our freedom.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin