By Lynn Schofer

The Seaford Memorial Day ceremony at Seaford Kiwanis Park honored veterans who lost their lives while in service to our country. The ceremony, organized by the Seaford Veterans Committee, was led by Pete Bohn who welcomed the hundreds in attendance and spoke on the importance of Memorial Day.

“Today we honor and remember those who sacrificed their lives so that all us living today may enjoy the freedoms laid out by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” said Bohn.

Honored guest speaker Jake James speaks of his son Rick Z. James’ ultimate sacrifice when killed in action and the impact of his death on him and his family. Photo by Lynn Schofer

Seaford High School Navy JRROTC provided the Color Guard and Rifle Squad and Charles Michel played Taps. 

Bohn honored the Gold Star families, “These families once had a blue star banner hanging in their windows and now have a banner whose stars have turned to gold by the death of their sons who made the ultimate sacrifice.” 

State Representative Daniel Short, a veteran, spoke to the crowd, “This is a solemn day and it is up to us today to give a lesson to the young of what today is about.” 

Representative Short shared a post written on Facebook by Marine Veteran Brian O’Day entitled, “Remember to Remember” and quoted Mr. O’Day in his writing of remembering those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. 

Seaford Mayor David Genshaw, Vice Mayor Dan Henderson, Councilman Orlando Holland, Councilman Matt MacCoy, Councilman James King, Councilman Jose Santos, and City Manager Charles Anderson were in attendance. 

Mayor Genshaw spoke first and said, “Our country is at a crossroads and I can tell you here in the city of Seaford we are going to be unified the best we can to move our town forward. Pray for our state and country that we come together under God.” 

“There is no way I could earn a seat under the tent without suffering an unimageable loss. I honor your courage and humility to join us today because I know it must be scratching a wound that only God can fill. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I pledge to conduct my affairs in a way that will fit the sacrifice,” Vice Mayor Dan Henderson said.

On May 13, 2006, Marine Lance Corporal Rick James, age 20, was killed in action in Ramadi. Gold Star father Jake James spoke as the guest speaker on Monday.

“I like the option to say Gold Star family because it takes all of us to get through this together,” said James, who acknowledged Gold Star mother Carol, sister Tina, brothers Jeff and Jonathan. James shared that after the death of Corey Palmer on May 6, 2006, the reality of war was hitting too close to home.

“They all grew up together and played sports with Corey’s cousins,” James said. He shared that he was driving to Pennsylvania for a show when he received the call from home of his son’s death. He spoke of his drive home, his words of anger to the Marines who were at this home, his regret of those words.

“The Marines stayed and kept us calm and people were coming to our home to offer prayer and well-being,” said James.

James then spoke of the “could have been’s” that his family will never know. “The could have been’s if he had lived; he could have been a father and I should be wishing him a happy father’s day; could have been in my band playing guitar with me, could have been a police officer. I know we will meet again.” 

James introduced his grandson, Caleb Gorman, who read a poem written by Rick’s brother, Jonathan, entitled, “Hero, Best Friend, Brother.” 

Representatives of Veteran organizations made presentation to the poppy wreath to pay tribute to fallen heroes and followed with a rifle salute, the playing of Taps, and the National Anthem. 

A dedication of a memorial brick with one brick added to the walkway at the park was for Gloria J. Slater, Corporal U.S. Army, 1952-1954. Veterans were honored for each era of war: 1917-1939 World War I, 1940-1949 World War II, 1950-1960 Korean War, 1960-1975 Vietnam War, 1976-1989 Beirut, Granada, Panama, 1990-2000 first Gulf War, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, 2001- present day Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Operation Noble Eagle.

Bohn, in closing, thanked the Seaford community, “Today we honor all the service men and women who have given their lives in defense of our country. It is our duty to pass on the tradition.”