Delaware women veterans invited to Women's Service Monument discussion Jan. 11

January 3, 2018

A public meeting about the Delaware Women's Service Monument will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, in the Senate Hearing Room on the second floor of Legislative Hall, Dover.

Delaware's women have served on the fields of war and at home in the First State, and in 2018 their sacrifices will be recognized with a new monument on the grounds of Legislative Hall, according to Dick Carter, chairman of the Delaware Heritage Commission. The monument also will recognize those who call Delaware their home even though they weren't born here. While other monuments have acknowledged women's roles in Delaware history, there are none specifically dedicated to women veterans.

Between March 2003 and December 2017, the United States military suffered 6,930 deaths in the Middle East. Of those, 207 have been women, including Air Force Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki of New Castle, a 23-year-old explosives expert who died Jan. 7, 2007, in Iraq while she and two others examined a car bomb.

The design will echo that of the state's World War I commemorative, erected Nov. 4 at the southwest corner of Legislative Hall; it will stand on the northwest corner of the capital building's grounds. It will be highlighted with laser-etched images of real Delawareans.

The General Assembly and the Department of State are the lead agencies for the monument and are gathering photos for inclusion on the monument; they are hoping others will be found in photo albums or family memorabilia representative of all Delaware women.

The Heritage Commission has been working with the Delaware Public Archives, and when the dedication takes place, the Heritage Commission will publish a commemorative booklet including many of the photos not used on the structure.

The monument can also can recognize women who never wore the uniform, like those who worked at New Castle's Bellanca Aircraft, and five women killed in a March 1943 blast at the Milford Ordnance Company. Carter is hoping people will contribute photos and personal stories toward the monument project and what it stands for. "We want as much public input as possible," he said.

Members of the Heritage Commission hope to have the design finalized by the end of January or early February, which includes selecting the six to eight photographs that will represent all Delaware women on the memorial.

Tentative plans are to dedicate the monument around Mother's Day 2018. To contribute photographs and memorials, contact Dick Carter at 302-245-0670. Photographs and a brief synopsis of each individual can be sent to Image files must be 300 dpi or higher. Photos may also be dropped off at Carter's office in Legislative Hall. All originals will be returned.