"Alright, Alright!" There were cheers and claps of joy Saturday morning as the first chunk of dirt is moved, making way for a Korean War Veterans Memorial in Loves Park. "We've been waiting a long time for this day and to have a super day like this with the weather is a real plus," said Veteran Bill Doran of Loves Park. Along with that excitement came strong emotions. "They call it the forgotten war, but those of us who fought it will never forget," said Veteran Joseph Meyers. Saturday marked the groundbreaking for the new memorial in Arthur Anderson Peace Park. The project will feature a row of black granite slabs, some of them pictured here, listing 59 names of Korean War veterans who died or were missing in action. Soldiers from Winnebago, Boone and Ogle county. "It's not really for us veterans that we're buiding this. It's for the young men who come back to their loved ones in body bags," Meyers said. He was a combat solider during the war, and almost 60 years later, he still has his former unit's patch sewed onto his *current* uniform. He joined his fellow veterans for a picture after the ground breaking. Capturing a slice of living history that will eventually coincide with a permanent one to honor those heroes who didn't make it home.
This memorial is getting built by a Rockford-based chapter of Korean War veterans. Their goal is to have it ready by July 27th of next year. That would mark the 54th aniversary of the treaty that was signed to end the Korean War. So far, $150,000 has been raised to pay for the memorial. There is still a need for about $20,000 more to pay for some electrical work. You can mail a donation to: Chapter 272 Korean War Veterans Association, 201 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL 61101.