Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Freeman Family Members Unveil Commemorative Plaque Recognizing Local Hero
(Lewes, Delaware) This morning, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Freeman family members, elected officials and Delaware River and Bay Authority representatives unveiled a new commemorative plaque honoring local hero, Captain Theodore C. Freeman. The new historical marker is permanently positioned near the main entrance to the Lewes passenger terminal building.
The Freeman Highway approach road to the Cape May – Lewes Ferry was named in honor of local hero, Captain Ted Freeman. While many bicyclists and motorists use this important approach highway every day, a significant number of both may not realize the meaning or origin behind the designation.
On February 3, 1964, Freeman, a Lewes High School graduate, was assigned to NASA’s Apollo Branch - joining Gordon Cooper, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan and Alan Bean at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas. At the same time, the Cape May – Lewes Ferry was gearing up to begin service on July 1, 1964. Capt. Freeman chose to make up routine flight hours near Ellington Air Force Base, Houston on October 31, 1964. Unexpectedly encountering a flock of snow geese, one smashed into the canopy of his T-38A Talon jet, sending pieces of plexi-glass into both engines. Both engines failed. Realizing he wouldn’t clear military homes – some of which housed fellow astronauts – he desperately banked away from the houses. This unselfish act cost him his life. Capt. Ted Freeman became the first American astronaut to lose his life in the country’s quest to get to the moon.
At the time of the tragedy, the approach road to the Lewes Ferry terminal was under construction. The Authority designated the approach road, Freeman Highway, forever recognizing and honoring the contributions of local hero, Capt. Theodore C. Freeman, and his service to our country. Freeman Highway is also an important connector between the Breakwater Junction and the new Gordons Pond trails.