Residents will honor Korean War veterans and mark the anniversary with a ceremony at the new war memorial Saturday.
INVERNESS - Fifty years after the Korean War ended, Citrus County's memorial to the soldiers who fought there will serve as a gathering place in their honor during a special ceremony scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday.
The memorial, which is already in place, is a black granite stone placed on the lawn of the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, next to a large memorial with the names of local soldiers killed in recent wars. The memorial is adorned with an American flag and a passage saying it is placed there to honor the memories of Korean War veterans, those missing in action and those who were prisoners of war.
The memorial was purchased by the local Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 192, which paid about $840. In June, the County Commission granted permission for the memorial to be placed on the lawn of the Old Courthouse.
The dedication ceremony will include a flag salute, when the large flag in front of the Old Courthouse will be lowered to half-staff and remain so until noon. A singer will perform the national anthem and several invited speakers will make remarks.
Among the featured speakers will be Linard Lynch, 75, who was held as a prisoner of war in Korea for 32 months. Lynch was captured in January 1951 while providing cover fire with a machine gun for fellow troops to make an escape. As he was making a break for safety, he tumbled into a creek bed that was lined with Chinese soldiers.
During his time as a prisoner of war, Lynch suffered many hardships. He said he often helped bury as many as 30 fellow soldiers a day who died in the camp.
Other speakers include Jerry Stamberger, president of the Korean War veterans group, and other Chapter 192 members Henry Oppenborn and Ken Heisner. Invited guests include U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite and county Commissioner Jim Fowler.
A group of Korean-Americans who live in Citrus, including one former soldier of the South Korean army, M. Henry Chang, will also attend. Chang was a surgeon in a MASH unit during the Korean War and lost a brother in combat. He immigrated to the United States in 1968 and practiced anesthesiology in New York City and Pennsylvania before retiring to Citrus in 2000. Chang said about 20 Korean-Americans live in Citrus, and about a dozen will make the trip to the dedication.
The dedication ceremony should last about an hour. There will be 100 chairs on the lawn, but many will be reserved. Bring your own lawn chairs.
Other Korean War commemoration events include:
- Ceremony honoring veterans and their families, 11 a.m. today at VFW Post 7122, 8206 U.S. 41 S, in Floral City. Call 637-0100.
- Cookout and awards ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at VFW Post 4337 on State Road 44 E, Inverness. U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite is to award Citrus County veterans with medals. Call 746-3064.
- An honor guard and Inverness postmaster Steve Hardeman will unveil the Korean War veterans memorial stamp at 11 a.m. Monday at the Inverness Post Office, 1400 U.S. 41 N.
- Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313 Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org