A rendering of what one side of Aurora's new Korean War Memorial will look like.
(Aurora, Ind.) – Korean War veteran Luther Rice says the war he fought in is often referred to as “The Forgotten War.”
But for those who laid their lives on the line in Korea, it will never be forgotten. And a new monument in Aurora will help others come to know the sacrifice made by soldiers in the war that raged for more than three years, 1950-1953.
The Korean War Memorial at Lesko Park will be dedicated during a ceremony starting at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 22.
Rice graduated from Aurora High School in 1948 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served in the final two years of the Korean War, recalling that time as “terrible.”
“There are over 1.5 million service men and women serving during the Korean War,” Rice said. “Some 36,000 of those members did not come home and there were over 108,000 who were prisoners of war.”
Seeing the difference today in the cultures of totalitarian, communist North Korea and the economically thriving South Korea, Rice knows the U.S. belonged there.
“When the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel on June the 25th of 1950, the idea of committing NATO to that war was to prevent the spread of communism in that part of the world. To that extent we were successful,” he said.
Rice now serves as Commander of Korean War Veterans Association Chapter #4 in Aurora.
The new memorial will be part of the recently renovated Lesko Park. The black granite monument is about four feet tall. One side displays a map of Korea, the emblems of the five branches of the U.S. military, and the words “Lest we forget freedom is not free.” The other side features an image of the national Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C. and the number of American casualties.
Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the Korean War cease fire, July 27, 1953. Organizers had planned to dedicate the monument on the anniversary, but Rice is planning to be at the national anniversary in Washington.
The dedication is open to the public. Attendees are urged to bring their own chairs. Ohio County Veterans Service Officer P.G. Gentrup also urges folks to bring children.
“We have to teach these future generations why they have the freedoms they do today. This is a great opportunity,” Gentrup said.