Governor Jack Markell, DRBA to Unveil Commemorative Plaque Honoring Local Hero, Ted Freeman
WHAT: On Wednesday, June 18, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Lewes Mayor Ted Becker, and members of the Freeman family will join with Delaware River and Bay Authority representatives for a ceremony to unveil a new commemorative plaque honoring local hero, Captain Theodore C. 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. Immediately following the plaque ceremony, join Gov. Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and other dignitaries for the official opening of the Gordons Pond Trail at 10 a.m. at Herring Point, at Cape Henlopen State Park on the eve of the 50th anniversaries of both the Cape May – Lewes Ferry and Cape Henlopen State Park.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at the Lewes Ferry Terminal located at 43 Cape Henlopen Drive in Lewes, DE. The ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m.
WHY: The Freeman Highway approach road to the Cape May – Lewes Ferry was named in honor of local hero, Captain Ted Freeman. 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. A second plaque will be installed at a later date on Freeman Highway where bicyclists who are using the new trail can view the plaque.