At the entrance to Bicentennial Park along Milford’s Riverwalk are several monuments dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives defending our country. One of the monuments consists of a statue of military boots, a rifle and a helmet atop bricks that were purchased in honor or memory of those who served in the military. However, the monuments in the park today have not always been in the park which was dedicated in 1976 in honor of the country’s 200th anniversary.
“Originally, the Veteran’s Memorial was erected in the Walnut Street Plaza in 1950 to honor all Milford war deaths from World War I and II,” said Dave Kenton, Milford historian. “In 1954, the Korean War deaths were added after the cease fire with Korea and those who died in Vietnam were added around 1975 after the war ended.” According to Mr. Kenton, Memorial Day events from 1950 until 2000 were held at the monument with members of the local VFW and American Legion marching wearing Army Reserve uniforms on the plaza.
The memorial on the Walnut Street Plaza consisted of a large “V” and was erected in 1943. Two panels on either side of the “V” listed the names of men and women who served in the war. Names were printed on popsicle sticks donated and made at the Mulholland Spoon Mill. In addition to the monument, a large fishpond filled with goldfish was also erected at the plaza.
“The monument was moved to Bicentennial Park about 15 years ago,” said Marvin Schelhouse, who is also a Milford historian. “I believe the American Legion and VFW played a big part in the process of moving the monument to its new location. The bricks may have been added as a way to fund the move from Walnut Street to Bicentennial Park.” Mr. Kenton confirmed that the monument was moved in 2001.
This year, Milford Rotary Club has continued their support for veterans by displaying American flags across BiCentennial Park, as part of the national Flags for Heroes program. Members of the local community sponsored flags and several displayed the name of a hero on the pole of the flag. The flags will be on display, next to the several veteran monuments erected in BiCentennial Park, through next week.
Celebrating Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11 this week, the local VFW and Milford schools will show their respect and gratitude for those who have and are currently serving in the United States military. On Tuesday, November 10, Mispillion Elementary will host a Veterans Day program with guest speaker Major John Obrien, a local nurse and a nurse for the Delaware Air Guard. On Wednesday, November 11, VFW Blue Hen Post 6483 will host their annual Thank a Vet program at Milford High School as local veterans share their time and stories with students.