By DAN DEARTH
7:39 PM EST, February 3, 2013
Local Korean War veterans plan to mark the 60th anniversary of that conflict’s end with a number of events, including the dedication of a granite memorial in Hagerstown.
John Koontz, 80, and Jim Mobley, 84, who are members of Antietam Chapter No. 312 of the Korean War Veterans Association, said local events to commemorate the cease-fire will kick off June 21 with the opening of a monthlong exhibit of Korean War memorabilia at Washington County Free Library, and will culminate with a bus trip to Washington, D.C., on July 27.
“We have things lined up that we want to do as part of the effort,” Mobley said. “All of these events are free. There’s no tab on any of them.”
Mobley said members of the Antietam chapter are trying to find speakers for some of the events, such as the dedication of a granite memorial to recognize Washington County’s Korean War veterans. That ceremony is to take place June 23 at Mealey Parkway in Hagerstown.
The Korean War, or the “Forgotten War” as it is sometimes called, started June 25, 1950, when Communist forces from North Korea invaded South Korea. Early in the fighting, the South Korean military was routed and driven into a small pocket of resistance until United Nations forces led by U.S. troops mounted a successful counterattack.
Although the cease-fire was signed July 27, 1953, North and South Korea remain divided today.
According to the Department of Defense, nearly 34,000 Americans died as the result of hostilities during the war, and more than 103,000 were wounded. Roughly 1.8 million Americans served in the Korean theater of operations.
Mobley said he believed the 60th anniversary celebration would be a “final hurrah” to honor Korean War veterans.
“We’re aging now and dying off like crazy,” he said.
Among other things, the 84 members of Antietam Chapter 312 award two annual $500 college scholarships and visit local schools to educate students about the war.
Schedule of events for 60th anniversary of end of Korean War
Tentative schedule of events in Washington County that will mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War:
• June 21, opening of monthlong exhibit of Korean War memorabilia at Washington County Free Library
• June 23, dedication of Korean War monument at Mealey Parkway in Hagerstown
• July 14, informational and social get-together at American legion Post No. 211 in Funkstown
• July 21, informational and social get-together at the National Guard Armory on Roxbury Road south of Hagerstown. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Team is scheduled to attend.
• July 27, bus trip to Washington, D.C.
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