Artillery Park Opened at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Artillery Park Opened at Fort Miles in Cape Henlopen State Park

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About 100 people gathered Fort Miles for the Ribbon Cutting on Friday morning (Source: Evan Koslof) About 100 people gathered Fort Miles for the Ribbon Cutting on Friday morning (Source: Evan Koslof)
Veteran Bob Sauppee (R) speaking with Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (L) (Source: Evan Koslof) Veteran Bob Sauppee (R) speaking with Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (L) (Source: Evan Koslof)

LEWES, Del. - At the Cape Henlopen State Park on Friday morning, it was all about the past and the future. More than 100 people gathered to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, and to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the brand new Artillery Park at Fort Miles. 

The park consists of various World War Two artillery, including the massive “Mighty Mo” gun, which was one of nine aboard the USS Missouri. The gun barrel alone weighs in at 116 tons, and is 66 feet long. 

Director of Delaware State Parks, Ray Bivens, said the park will not only boost tourism in the area, but also it will “put Delaware on the map,” in regards to World War Two history. 

"Tourism is very important,” he said. "And this is a site that you can come to when it’s raining. You can come when it’s winter. You can come on a weekend, you can come in the day. This is a site that every school child should have the chance to come experience. When you learn about something in a textbook, it doesn’t become real until you get to touch it and really feel and hear the emotion of that time.” 

At the event, Bob Sauppee, a veteran who served on the USS Missouri on that historic day 71 years ago, was given the opportunity to speak. He said it was a great honor to be invited to the event. 

“It’s funny how at my age,” he said. "I forget everything. But I remember that day… The biggest thing I remember is 'tomorrow we’re going to go home.' And that was a big thing for a lot of us.” 

The “Mighty Mo" was saved by the Fort Miles Historical Association, before it was set to be turned into scrap, and was sent to Lewes by barge and rail. In order to do this, the association raised more than $100,000 in private donations and grants. 

“With ‘Mighty Mo’s’ gun as the centerpiece,” said Association President Gary Wray. “The Artillery Park is the largest exhibit of its kind in the country. The Fort Miles Museum, when completed, will be the best World War II museum inside a World War II facility in the U.S.”

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