‘Wall That Heals’ coming to Dover on July 2

DOVER — The Kent County Veterans Memorial Park will be a busy place during the visit of The Wall That Heals between Thursday, July 2, and Sunday, July 5.

The visit is a joint project of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and Kent County Chapter 850 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, who built the memorial park.

A 10 a.m. Thursday, July 2, opening ceremony will feature National Vietnam Veterans of America President John Rowan, who will welcome the public to visit the memorial, which will be open 24-hours through 5 p.m. Sunday, July 5.

John Rowan

John Rowan

The Wall That Heals is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Its visit to Dover is the result of a partnership between the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and VVA Chapter 850, who will host the memorial at its Veterans Memorial Park on South Little Creek Road.

Mr. Rowan was reelected to his fifth term as VVA president at the organization’s 16th National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

He served as chairman of VVA’s Conference of State Council Presidents for three terms on the organization’s Board of Directors, and as president of VVA’s New York State Council.

After enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1965, he learned Indonesian and Vietnamese in language school and served as a linguist in the 6990th Security Squadron in Vietnam and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. He provided the Strategic Air Command with intelligence on North Vietnam’s SAM sites to protect their bombing missions.

Mr. Rowan later received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Queens College and a master’s degree in urban affairs from Hunter College.

He retired as an investigator with the City of New York’s Comptroller’s Office and lives in Middle Village, New York, with his wife, Mariann.

“We are honored to host President Rowan and this memorial. It’s been about 15 years since it was last in Dover and the interest in it continues to grow,” said Paul Davis, president of the Delaware State VVA Council.

Made of aluminum panels, it consists of two 125-foot sections and lists all of the names on the permanent memorial.

Names are listed chronologically by date of death. Guides and books will be available to direct people to specific panels.

After the ceremony, the public will have the opportunity to read the 58,300-plus names of the fallen on the Wall in half-hour increments via a PA system.

To sign up before the opening ceremony, contact Sherri Taylor at (302) 257-3117 or sherri.taylor@state.de.us or by visiting the memorial and signing up for a slot at the on-site registration tent after the ceremony.

On July 4, a 5K Run/Walk/Roll event will start at 9 a.m., rain or shine, near the County Administration building at the south end of the Memorial Park.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Registration is $20 until Saturday, June 27, then $25 thereafter.

The run will benefit the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund. Register at www.TriSportsEvents.com or call (302) 674-3213. People unable to participate may sign up as a Silent Hero.

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