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Never forget Korean War veterans

To the Editor:

A time to remember. This year marks the 64th anniversary of the cease fire of the Korean War. A war by executive decision beginning 25 June, 1950, and continuing to 27 July 1953. This brutal conflict lasted 37 months and claimed more than 37,000 American lives, averaging 1,000 combat deaths per month. This equates to the population of the city of Keizer. (Something to think about.) The cease fire became effective at 2200 (10:00 p.m.) July 27, 1953. A truce had been signed, an armistice had been agreed upon, however a peace agreement has not been completed, therefore, the Korean War has not officially ended.

There are three memorials in the Willamette Valley dedicated to those men and women who fought and died in Korea fighting the war under the United Nations command. The first memorial completed is located at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland and was the project of the Chosin Few, survivors of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. Located in a beautiful setting and easy to find.

The second and largest memorial, sponsored by the Oregon Trail Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association and dedicated in 2000 is located in Wilsonville. Engraved in the wall are the names of Oregonians who died in combat in Korea. A recent addition to the memorial is a life-size statue of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander during the early part of the war. The Korean Memorial Foundation of Oregon funded this project.

The third memorial in the Willamette Valley is located on the grounds of the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs at 700 Summer Street in Salem. The former Iron Triangle Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association arranged for the funding of this black granite center piece flanked by granite benches. Another fine tribute to those who served. None of these memorials are intended to glorify war but are to remind us that “freedom has neever been free.”

Bob Wickman
Korea, 1953-54