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Groundbreaking for memorial set

The Suncoast Chapter #14 of the Korean War Veterans Association wants to honor soldiers of the "Forgotten War.''

By JULIANNE WU, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002

PINELLAS PARK -- Often feeling neglected, Korean War Veterans are taking steps to build their own memorial in Pinellas County.

Toward that end, the Suncoast Chapter #14 of the Korean War Veterans Association will have a groundbreaking ceremony for a Korean War Memorial at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Freedom Lake Park, 9990 46th St. N. It is open to the public.

The Suncoast Chapter, which has raised about $15,000, hopes to complete the memorial by July 27, 2003.

A black marble monument will rest atop a red brick platform, said chapter president Clarence Dadswell. It will cost about $30,000.

"Individuals can honor loved ones by purchasing an engraved brick for $50," said Dadswell, 74, of St. Petersburg.

With the average age of Korean War Veterans between 68 and 74, he continued, "we thought we better get a memorial now. Otherwise, there won't be anyone behind us who would push for it.

"Korea is often called the "Forgotten War,' and it's true," he said. "When we appear before some groups, they say they never even heard of it. And, I don't think it's taught in the schools. Every war should be taught. ... it's all a part of our history."

The dedication of the Korean War Memorial will coincide with the opening date of the war 52 years ago, Dadswell said.

On June 25, 1950, President Harry Truman ordered American troops from Japan to assist the South Korean government and its people when the North Korean army invaded.

Before the war ended, according to World Book Online, 36,516 Americans died, 103,284 were wounded and another 5,178 were prisoners of war or listed as missing in action.

The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953, when the United Nations and North Korea signed an armistice agreement. Today, about 37,00 members of the U.S. military remain in South Korea to discourage hostility.

For more information on purchasing memorial bricks, contact Dadswell at 522-6496.

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