New memorial honors Middle East veterans

DOVER — Middle East veteran John Hampton will serve as keynote speaker for the dedication of the Middle East Conflicts Memorial on Wednesday, November 11, at 2, p.m. at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park on S. Little Creek Road, Dover.

TSgt. Hampton retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2011. He served in the Middle East and Central America during a 21-year military career. He is an At-Large member of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and chaired the MEC Memorial committee.

“This unique memorial was designed by current veterans and has an open-book design,” said Mr. Hampton. “We are grateful to Kent County Chapter 850, Vietnam Veterans of America, for their assistance not only for welcoming our memorial but for helping us raise funds for it. Like the other memorials in the park, it was paid for through brick sales, fundraisers, and private donations.”

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Vietnam vet Wayne McCarty of Magnolia explains the meaning of Veterans Day to Carter Benini, 5, of Hartly, at Veterans Memorial Park in Dover before the start of last year’s Veterans Day ceremony. (Delaware State News file photo)

The memorial will pay tribute to everyone who served in that part of the world since the 1979 takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It will be the last war memorial in the park, according to Ken Bodine who has chaired the site committee since its dedication in 2009.

He and his team have maintained the beauty of the park through placement of the memorials, regular maintenance of the plants, and laying of memorial bricks.

“The last placement of an object in the park will be a POW/MIA Chair of Honor permanently affixed between two flagpoles in conjunction with Vietnam Veterans Day in March 2016,” said Mr. Bodine, a life member of Chapter 850.

A sign donated by Bowers Sign Company marks the spot where the chair will be placed. It will complete a process begun in 2007 when plans for the original Vietnam memorial were drawn up by chapter leadership.

Chapter 850 built the County Veterans Memorial Park with privately raised funds. It is located on the north end of the County Administration building property.

In addition to the coming MEC memorial, the 1 ½ acre site is home to a Vietnam memorial; a Gold Star Mother and Families memorial; a Korean War memorial, a Huey Helicopter; and a War Dog memorial.

The public is invited.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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