Delawareans are celebrating Memorial Day weekend with a submarine named for the First State.
Steve Llanso, who wrote a letter to the editor of The (Wilmington) News Journal in 2011 asking why Delaware didn’t have a Navy ship bearing its name, will be honored at the state’s annual Memorial Day ceremony in New Castle.
Sens. Thomas R. Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney discovered Llanso’s letter in 2012. Since the Navy was building submarines at the time, Carper, Coons and Carney wrote a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to make Llanso’s idea come to life.
The last ship named for the state was the USS Delaware, a World War I battleship which was decommissioned in November 1923 after 13 years of service. Since then, Naval Vessel Registry records show that 42 other states have had Navy vessels named after them, the lawmakers said in their letter.
On April 30, Carper and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President and former Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., attended the sub’s keel-laying ceremony in Newport News, Virginia.
Memorial Day weekend is usually marked by crowds flocking to Delaware’s beaches after waiting since Labor Day for warm-enough weather. Hundreds are expected to join Carper, Carney and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell at this weekend’s proceedings where Llanso will be presented with a photograph of the USS Delaware signed by Biden. Coons is also likely to attend the ceremony.