Memorial Day events planned across Kent and Sussex counties

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 5/23/22

Memorial Day 2022 will be observed throughout the state with public ceremonies Sunday and May 30.

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Memorial Day events planned across Kent and Sussex counties


Memorial Day 2022 will be observed throughout the state with public ceremonies Sunday and May 30.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday to remember America’s military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

The Circle in the heart of Georgetown on Sunday will be the venue for the Sussex County Memorial Day Service. The event, facilitated by the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, will start at 1:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker will be retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Walter Koopman, a veteran of the Korean War.

The program will include the Delaware National Guard and presentations by military organizations, political parties and local service organizations, “all of whom get together to make sure that we do not forget,” said Holland VanValkenburgh, Sussex County Memorial Day Ceremony program chairman. “And the veterans, they want to make sure that that in fact is what happens. That is why they turn out. That is why they put flags on the graves.”

Seaford’s Memorial Day ceremony, a tradition for many years, will be May 30 at the Kiwanis Park Veterans Memorial, along Stein Highway.

The event starts at 11 a.m. It is sponsored by the Seaford Veterans Committee, comprised of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4961, American Legion posts 6 and 37, AMVETS Post 1694, Marine Corps League Detachment 780 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 9.

The scheduled guest speaker for the event is Brian O’Day, an 18-year military veteran, U.S. Marine Corps officer and a 1999 Seaford High School graduate.

A recognition will be paid to all military personnel past and present, as well as any Gold Star mothers and families in attendance.

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held upstairs at the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department, Pine and King streets, at 11.

There will be no Memorial Day parade due to the unavailability of school bands.

After the ceremony, open houses will be held at approximately 12:30 at American Legion Post 6 on Front Street, Seaford, and at 1 at VFW Post 4961 on Middleford Road. Lunch will be provided.

At American Legion Oak Orchard/Riverdale Post 28, east of Millsboro, the Memorial Day ceremony May 30 will begin at 11:30 a.m. Scheduled speakers include the Post 28 commander and president and the Sons of American Legion commander, with singing to be led by Judy Mangini.

In Harrington, a Memorial Day parade will begin at 9 a.m. May 30 with a ceremony to follow at Norman Barlow Pavilion. American Legion events will also take place at Hollywood Cemetery after the parade.

Additionally, the Greater Harrington Historical Society Museum will be open until 2 for tours.

The Smyrna-Clayton Memorial Day parade May 30 will begin at 10 a.m., at Market and Commerce streets in Smyrna. Lineup for participants is at 9:15 on Market Street Plaza near the post office and Town Hall.

The parade will travel east on Commerce, turn left on Main Street and continue across Glenwood Avenue to George C. Wright Jr. Municipal Park, near North Smyrna Elementary School.

Those interested in participating should call Grant Nash at 302-363-4280 or Tom Emerson at 302-363-1021.

After the parade, a memorial service will be held at the Smyrna-Clayton Veterans Monument at the park. The keynote speaker will be Delaware Army National Guard Sgt. Maj. Mark Del Vecchio.

In case of rain, the parade will be canceled, but a memorial ceremony will be held at Citizens’ Hose Co., 103 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, at 10:30 a.m.

Other festivities

In Dover, the Kent County chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America will present a Memorial Day ceremony May 30 at 2 p.m. at Kent County Veterans Memorial Park, South Little Creek Road. The emcee will be Dave Skocik, president of the Delaware Veterans Coalition, and Mayor Robin Christiansen will provide a greeting. The keynote speaker is John Sabanosh, while the flags will be presented by Dover High School’s Junior ROTC color guard.

Up in Wilmington, the National Association for Black Veterans’ Delaware chapter is kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a three-hour event Friday at the African-American Medal of Honor Recipients Memorial to celebrate and remember the contributions of all veterans.
The event starts at 1 p.m. at Brandywine Creek State Park, West 18th Street. It is free and open to the public.

Among the speakers will be U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer and Wilmington City Council President Ernest “Trippy” Congo.

Representatives from the Wilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, Evans Funeral Services and other organizations will share information. Refreshments will be provided.

On Sunday, Music of America, a program to celebrate Memorial Day through music, will be presented at Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew & Matthew, 719 N. Shipley St., Wilmington. “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” folk songs and spirituals will be presented by Delaware ChoralArts. Tickets are available here.

The following day, the Wilmington Memorial Day Committee will host a parade, which will step off from Delaware and Woodlawn avenues at 6 p.m. and proceed down Delaware Avenue to the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Broom Street. A memorial observance will be held at the conclusion of the parade.

Also May 30, the historic St. George’s Chapel in Harbeson will hold a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. The 1794 chapel, at 20271 Beaver Dam Road, will host this annual service, which will include prayers, readings and music with emphasis on our country’s veterans.

The guest speaker will be retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. H.W. “Buzz” Buse III, who served for 25 years on active duty as an infantry officer. Among Col. Buse’s many assignments, he led units in the Vietnam War. He has been a member of All Saints’ Church in Rehoboth Beach and St. George’s Chapel for 12 years, plus serves on the church vestry.

This free service is open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken. For information, email or call 302-227-7202.reached at Follow @glennrolfeBTBN on Twitter.

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