Delaware Hometown Heroes will be honored on special banners on display. Six local heroes among those whose memory will be honored throughout Delaware.

By Lynn R. Parks

Of the 30 banners honoring Delaware's war dead that will circulate through the state this summer, four will bear the names of men from Seaford. Two additional banners will bear the names of local men who were killed during the Vietnam War. The banner display, Delaware Hometown Heroes, was first shown to the families of the deceased soldiers Saturday, at a ceremony held on the lawn of Legislative Hall in Dover. Sen. Tom Carper was the guest speaker at the ceremony. The display will be in Dover for two months, then will travel to Sussex County and then to Newark, according to Judy Campbell, Wilmington, who is organizing the display for the state chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. At a ceremony in November, the banners will be given to the families. Campbell said that exact dates and places for the displays have not been set yet. She said that the Sussex County display will probably be in Seaford, since four of the honored men are from here. The Seaford men who were killed in action and who are recognized in the display are Michael Hastings, who was killed Oct. 23, 1983, in a bomb blast in Beirut, Lebanon; Ryan Long, who was killed by a suicide bomber April 3, 2003, in Iraq; Cory Palmer, who died May 6, 2006, after his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq; and Rick James, who was killed in battle in Iraq May 13, 2006. Also honored in the display are Richard Samuel Dennison, Bethel, who was killed March 5, 1971, in Vietnam, and Elmer L. Faulkner Jr., Greenwood, who was killed on June 18, 1968, in Vietnam.

The banners, each about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide, are designed to hang from utility poles. Each features a picture of the soldier (if available) and the soldier's name, age at the time of death and information about the circumstances of his or her death. Across the top, wrapped in red, white and blue, will be the words, "Delaware Hometown Heroes." "This is a very beautiful way to honor them," said Danna Palmer, Cory Palmer's mother. Campbell said that the banners will serve two purposes. First, they will honor the war dead. "If we forget those who sacrificed everything for us, we have failed," said Campbell, whose brother, Kevin Campbell, Arlington, Va., was killed in the Vietnam War. "They didn't fail us, but we will have failed them." Additionally, the banners will honor the families of those war dead. "These Gold Star families have to live with the loss of their loved ones," Campbell said. "The mere fact that other people are remembering is very healing and comforting." For your information: Donations to the Delaware Hometown Heroes banner display can be sent to the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter 83, PO Box 8167, Wilmington, DE 19803. For more information, or to pass on details about someone who was killed in action, call display organizer Judy Campbell, (302) 593-5991, or chapter president, Tom Daws, (302) 738-8875.

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