Wall of Remembrance dedicated at Korean War Memorial
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The names of those who lost their lives during the Korean War -- the so-called “forgotten war” -- will never be forgotten again.
On a hot summer’s day in Washington, exactly 69 years after combat ended on the Korean Peninsula, Korean War veterans, gold star families, and dignitaries came together for the dedication of a Wall of Remembrance.
The wall lists the names of 43,000 service members who gave their lives during the Korean War.
“It’s a lifelong dream come to fruition,” said Col. Rick Dean (Ret.) of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation.
Dean explained the symbolism in the wall’s design: 100 granite panels are broken up into different sections for each branch of the military. The names of 7,200 South Koreans (KATUSAs) who died are integrated with the 36,000 Americans’ names, because they fought alongside Americans in American military units. The names are also listed in order of rank.
“There are 24 panels of privates. There are 29 panels of private first classes. That makes 53% of this memorial men who were 17, 18, 19-years-old,” explained Dean.
Gray Television Washington News Bureau senior reporter Ted Fioraliso first reported on the plans to build the Wall of Remembrance six years ago. At that time, he had the opportunity to interview an esteemed Korean War veteran, Col. Bill Weber (Ret.).
Weber told him how the foundation wanted a Wall of Remembrance from the beginning, but it didn’t happen.
“At that point in time, there was this tremendous controversy about the Vietnam wall, because the soldiers who served in Vietnam and survived, felt that that memorial didn’t honor their service; it only honored the service of those who fell in battle,” Weber said in 2016.
Twenty-one years after the Korean War Memorial first opened, Weber was there for the bill signing, authorizing the wall’s construction.
But, Weber did not get to see Wednesday’s dedication. He died three months ago at the age of 96.
When Ted asked Weber six years ago what he wanted visitors to the memorial -- and now Wall of Remembrance -- to take away, he answered with the slogan that is etched into the memorial.
“Freedom truly is not free. It takes sacrifice, human sacrifice,” said Weber.
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