Seaford Veterans Day ceremony marks 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor bombing
By Lynn R. Parks
A handful of local elected officials attended Friday's Veterans Day ceremony at Kiwanis Park in Seaford. But when it came time to name visiting dignitaries, master of ceremonies Pete Bohn said that some other people had to come first.
"Dec. 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor," Bohn said. That bombing, by the Japanese, propelled the United States into World War II. And Bohn invited all veterans of that war who were present at the ceremony to take seats near the speaker's podium, in front of the park's war memorial. Five veterans took him up on the offer. Among them was Sam Mellin, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II's Pacific Theater. Men in his unit were among the nearly 1,000 Marines who were killed in the Battle of Tarawa, Nov. 20 through Nov. 23, 1943. For weeks afterward, Mellin, who before the battle had been transferred to the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., for training, searched for survivors from his unit. "There weren't any," he said. "They were all gone."
Mellin, who is 91, attends Seaford's Veterans Day ceremony every year. "This is my day," he said, tears filling his eyes. "I am here because of the guys who are dead. I think of them, I celebrate their lives and I remember them."
Guest speaker at Friday's ceremony was Anthony Rowe, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and an instructor in the Junior Naval ROTC program at Seaford High School. "It is an honor to stand in front of a group of people who appreciate what our veterans do for us on a regular basis," Rowe told the crowd.
He praised Delaware for the attention that it pays to its veterans.
State Sen. Bryant Richardson said that he and state Rep. Dan Short are working to ensure that "no veteran in Delaware has to sleep under a bridge, and no veteran in Delaware has to go without a meal." Richardson also talked about his grandson, whose birthday is on Nov. 11. "He is growing up in a nation that honors God and honors our Lord Jesus Christ," he said. "I hope that that continues, and it will as long as we have the brave men and women who serve in our military."
Short talked about Election Day, just three days earlier, and told the audience that people had died to ensure that citizens have the right to vote. He also criticized protesters who, upset over the election of Donald Trump as president, marched down the streets of many U.S. cities following Election Day. "We are better than that," he said.
Mayor David Genshaw asked veterans to continue to serve as role models. "You are still leading," he said. "Young folks are watching and it is important that they see commitment and sacrifice."
Among the people who attended the ceremony were Robbie and Sarah Mullin and their three sons, Christian, 10, Devon, 9, and Jeremy, 7. The family had made cookies chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip and oatmeal, blueberry and white chocolate chip and were handing them out to veterans, including Mellin. "I have a long history of military service in my family," Sarah Mullin said. "I didn't go into the military, but I wish that I had. I have a lot of respect for anyone who serves."
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