HAMPTON -- The father of a fallen marine has been waiting a long time for his son to be honored by the State of Virginia, and that wait continues.
Lance Corporal Darrell Schumann was one of 31 Americans to die in a helicopter crash in Iraq in 2005, but because the chopper was not shot down in an enemy firefight and instead went down as a result of a sandstorm, the Virginia War Memorial declined to engrave Darrell's name on its wall of heroes.
In the years since, Darrell's father, Rick, has been trying to rectify the situation. But he's getting frustrated. "This is kicking the can down the road somewhere," he said.
Rick enlisted the help of State Senator John Miller. Last year Miller succeeded in winning approval for legislation requiring the memorial to include people like Darrell, who didn't die in an armed engagement, but who nonetheless was involved in a war. Miller is furious there's been no action. "There's an entire huge section of wall where the names could be engraved tomorrow and we could properly honor those heroes, but yet the board refuses to act," he said.
But Rick is resolute. "I've been through different phases but not it's resolve," he said. "When the bill was passed last year I mentioned this was like rounding third base, but I don't consider it a home run until the names are on the wall."
A spokesman for Governor Terry McAuliffe said another problem is that names cannot be added until a war is over, and, "the global war on terror is on-going." The spokesman went on to say that McAuliffe is investigating the situation.