Fallen veterans remembered in misty downtown ceremony

DOVER — Memorial Day is not for the living, as any veteran of the military will attest.

The crowd that gathered at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Triangle in downtown Dover was reminded of that when the names of more than 400 Dover-area veterans who have died over the past year were read aloud Monday morning.

It was a somber task for Tammy Hull, commander of American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2, and Anna Lopez, commander of Delaware Veterans Post 2, Inc.

That’s because every one of those fallen veterans has their own unique story and the reading of their names served as a tribute and personal thank you to all of them and their families.

“You take each name to heart and it’s very emotional,” said Commander Hull, who alternated reading the names with Commander Lopez. “I’m sure every one of those names has quite a story behind it and we just want to give each individual justice.”

An American veteran salutes during the rising of the U.S. flag concluding Memorial Day services at the Veterans Triangle. (Special to the Delaware State News/Jon Lloyd Jr.)

The ceremony, which took place at the convergence of Loockerman and State streets and Kings Highway, drew a nice crowd despite cool, overcast weather.

Robert Craig, a U.S. Air Force veteran of 22 years, was proud of how the veterans were recognized.

Chaplain Capt. Michael A. Carollo salutes the U.S. flag.

“It was a very good ceremony,” he said. “I think a lot more people should come out for these types of events. Listening to all of the (deceased) names made me feel like crying, but the sky was doing that for me.”

Dover Air Force Base Chaplain Capt. Michael A. Carollo bookended the 45-minute program by offering Invocation and Benediction prayers.

In between, the crowd joined Eugene “Chip” Rosan, Adjutant, American Legion, Walter Fox Post 2, in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before the National Anthem was played.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen served as the guest speaker and remembered a similar day from his childhood.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen bows his head during the invocation.

“I remember coming here (to the Veterans Triangle) with my mother and dad some 50 years ago,” the mayor said. “So I’m proud to be here today.”

Mayor Christiansen went on to salute the more than one million soldiers who have died while defending the United States. He said they provided the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

“It really is important because we are on the front lines of defending freedom and have been for many, many years with the presence of Dover Air Force Base,” Mayor Christiansen said. “It even goes back to Colonial times when we sent troops to help George Washington.

“So Dover, over the course of its 300-year history, has been vested in the defense and protection of this country and also in defending the freedoms and values we all appreciate.”

Following the mayor’s speech, Commander Hull and Commander Lopez read off the names of the deceased Dover-area veterans during the past year before representatives from 21 groups presented floral tributes in the Veterans Triangle and offered up salutes.

The Dover Air Force Base Honor Guard then performed a 21-gun salute that echoed off the buildings downtown before Taps was played.

Dover Air Force Base Honor Guard members perform the 21-gun salute.

Commander Hull and Commander Lopez closed out the ceremony as they participated in Raise the Colors as the American flag was hoisted from half-staff to the top of the flag pole.

Then, almost on cue, a misty rain began to fall. As Mr. Craig said, it was like the sky was crying.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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