After months of fundraising, working out transportation issues and waiting – lots and lots of waiting – one of the main World War II era cannons from the U.S.S. Missouri is finally set to arrive in Delaware’s southernmost county on Monday, April 16.
And this important piece of American history will be welcomed to the Sussex County seat in grand fashion, before departing the following day for its final destination on the grounds of Fort Miles, at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
A large crowd is anticipated in Georgetown for a three-hour event on the afternoon of April 16, beginning with a special ceremony on The Circle that will feature World War II veterans, dignitaries, representatives from state and national organizations and interested onlookers.
“As long as Mother Nature cooperates, this is shaping up to be the kind of event we all hoped it would be – a chance to not only welcome this important piece of history to our area, but also an opportunity to once again recognize and honor our nation’s veterans,” says James Diehl, media relations manager for Southern Delaware Tourism (SDT). “We have an impressive group of speakers scheduled, and an overall wonderful day planned for everyone.”
Former Sussex County Register of Wills Greg Fuller, himself a veteran of the United States military, will perform the national anthem, followed by a flyover of a Russian YAK9 fighter from Andrews Air Force Base.
Following the estimated 45-minute ceremony, the Sussex Technical High School Raven Nation band and motorcyclists from American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard will lead a group of veterans from The Circle on a five block march to the Missouri barrel’s location on the rail line.
More than 500 American flags have been obtained for the event and SDT, the Fort Miles Historical Association and the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, co-organizers of the event, welcome members of the public to pay tribute to our nation’s veterans during this historic march.
“We want as much red, white and blue as possible flying around as our veterans make their trek to the railroad tracks,” says Diehl. “This type of event will never happen again, so it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime chance to honor them in this way.”
Following a brief gathering, and several unique photo opportunities at the barrel site, the event will conclude with a reception at the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department.
World War II re-enactors, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, military vehicles and other components will also be a part of the event, to be broadcast live on the Internet at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sdt-l-mighty-mo.
Event organizers cordially invite all members of the public to attend the one-time only event, and welcome any and all veterans of the American military to be a part of the historic march, that will take place immediately following the ceremony.
Limited transportation options will be made available to those veterans who cannot walk the five blocks to the gun site, on a first-come first-served basis.
While the ceremony will not begin until 2 p.m., live period music will be provided on The Circle beginning an hour prior and all roads within a one block radius of the town center, as well as along the parade route, will be closed beginning at 1:30.