The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7234 will host a Memorial Day service at the Bethany Beach bandstand on Monday, May 25. The free service begins at 11 a.m., and the entire community is being invited to attend.
“It gives us an opportunity to honor the fallen comrades,” said VFW Post 7234 Commander and Vietnam War veteran Fulton Loppatto, noting that their motto is, “‘Honor the dead by helping the living.’ It’s a very important occasion for us. We’re honored to do that for the town and for the citizens of Bethany Beach and surrounding areas to come together.”
Loppatto said that, three years ago, the late Bethany Beach Mayor Tony McClenny had asked the VFW to hold the commemoration at the bandstand.
“It’s very nice. We get a very nice crowd of people and veterans from all over.”
The event will begin with a welcome by current Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Gordon, followed by the presentation of colors by the VFW 7234 Honor Guard. Local singer and artist Jennifer Carter, a VFW Department of Delaware soloist, will sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs.
“It’s always wonderful to have her. She does such a fantastic job,” said Loppatto. “One song she’ll sing, ‘Sleep Soldier Boy Sleep,’ will bring everyone to tears.”
The guest speaker will be Vietnam veteran Robert Corsa, the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1105 and commissioner of the Delaware Commission of Veteran Affairs. Corsa served in the U.S. Marine Corps from December 1964 to December 1968, with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment 4326, and was awarded the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Corsa is also a retired from the New York Police Department.
“He’s done quite a bit,” said Loppatto. “I’m glad to have him speak for us.”
Loppatto said state Sen. Gerald Hocker and state Rep. Ron Gray will speak, and Sussex County Councilmen George Cole and Rob Arlett are expected to attend.
On May 30 at 11 a.m., the Post will also host a Memorial Day service at its facility, for all of its members and the Ladies Auxiliary.
“It’s a little more focused,” he said, noting that spouses and family members are invited to attend the service.
Loppatto said Post 7234 has approximately 2,300 total members, including 1,350 combat veterans.
The services are designed to allow those in the community to take a moment to honor those who serve and have served in protecting the freedoms of the people of the United States of America.
“We always hope that we get people who have lost a family member, a comrade, or a friend… That’s who I always hope will attend. Obviously, it’s good to have the general public.
“If you really think about it, everyone probably knows somebody who’s died in a war. Everyone knows a friend or a comrade, a relative… everyone usually has someone they want to take a moment to honor.”