veterans memorial park
Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated in 1956. Since that time, it has served as a place of solemn repose for veterans and veteran families to honor their fallen brethern and family. It has drawn people from near and far to attend formal ceremonies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day each year, as well to come and pay their individual respects throughout the year. The Park is best known for its main and first monument honoring the fallen from Delaware and New Jersey in both World War Two and the Korean War. Since that time it has expanded to include additional memorials, markers, and monuments. Here's a review of some of the milestones in the Park's history.
military dedications timeline
PARK DEDICATION: August 1956
The original Memorial Walls were dedicated in October 1956. Veterans groups from all branches of service attended to raise the then one American flag over the main memorial dedicated to the fallen from New Jersey and Delaware. Dignitaries and politicians from both states walked across the northbound lanes of the highway to the park for the dedication, and Veterans Groups came to lay wreaths and pay their respects to the close to 15,000 local service personnel who paid the ultimate price on behalf of the nation and the world.
VIETNAM WAR MARKER: November 11,1977
The Vietnam War became the first added to the Park since its inception with a stone marker n 1977 by the DRBA. It pays tribute to the 1,487 from New Jersey and 81 from Delaware who were killed in action during twenty year combat operations in Vietnam.
DESERT STORM/DESERT SHIELD MARKER: November 11,1991
The Gulf War became the first added to the Park since its inception with a stone marker for Desert Shield/Desert Storm -- the two phases of the war. Conducted from August 2, 1990 to February 26, 1991, U.S. troops led coalition forces from 35 nations in combat with Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Accordingly to Congressional Research Services Documents from July 29, 2020, the war resulted in 6 deaths of New Jersey troops and 2 from Delaware.
ONE ARMY STATUE: November 11,1998
The One Army Statue is a duplicate of an original had sat at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA. The statue is symbolic of all unified Army forces across the country's history, but is particularly representative of Vietnam-era forces based on the uniform the soldier is wearing and the M-16 rifle he is carrying. The statue was strategically placed near the Vietnam marker close to the main memorial in tribute to the Vietnam veterans who served our country.
SUBMARINERS MONUMENT: May 26, 2002
Just before Memorial Day 2002, the Submariners Monument became the first added in the new century. Commemorating the Navy submariners of World War Two, it pays homage to "The Silent Service - Pride Runs Deep" and notes that 52 U.S. submarines are on eternal patrol having never come back home to land. It was created by the local Dover, Delaware Submariners Foundation.
KOREAN WAR MONUMENT: May 30, 2003
This is the only monument in the Park that is centered between the flags of two nations - The United States and The Republic of Korea (ROK), or South Korea. It was constructed with matching seats that face each other and pays respect to the United States as a partner in helping South Korea against invasion from the North from 1950-1953.
AMERICAN EAGLE STATUE: November 11, 2003:
This statue was created by the DRBA's Veterans Committee, made up of employees who served in the Armed Forces. The committee, in conjunction with the DRBA Maintenance Department, constructed this statue after adopting and rehabilitating the abandoned Bald Eagle found in New Jersey. Due to the Eagle's strong symbolic affiliation with the United States and its military forces, this statue is dedicated to all veterans "whose loyalty and services during times of war and peach define the character of this great nation." The word "peace" on its plaque makes it unique in the Park.
BLUE STAR MEMORIAL: May 30, 2006
This standing plaque was sponsored by the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs, affiliated with National Garden Clubs, Inc. It is the only marker in the Park that has the same words on both the front and back so it can be seen by Park visitors from both walkways that lead to the Main Memorial Wall of Remembrance from the entrance. Although the words provide tribute to those who have defended the U.S., the Blue Star symbolizes active duty service personnel and, therefore, is one of two in the Park -- the other being the One Army Soldier Statues -- that honors current service personnel in addition to those who have passed.
MEMORIAL WALL RESTORATION: May 30, 2012
After more than 50 years out in the elements, the original six-panel Walls of Remembrance in the Park were showing signs of weather damage. The DRBA's Maintenance crews dedicated two years to the restoration effort, finishing the effort in time for Veterans Day 2011. The Wall of Remembrance was officially rededicated on Memorial Day the following year.
GOLD STAR FAMILIES MONUMENT: November 11, 2018
The Gold StarMonument is currently the newest monument in the Park, erected in conjunction with the Woody Williams Foundation and Delaware Gold Star families. It is the only structure in the Park with a void design symbolic of those missing forever from their cherished loved ones. It is also the only monument that includes a second commemorative marker directly behind it. It is built in conjunction with style guidelines set by the Woody Williams Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to assisting local groups establish permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments across the nation.