Korean War Veterans standing in front of the Korean War Memorial “Circle of Life” at Cascades Parks
Hundreds of people showed up to Cascades Park to honor those veterans who served in the Korean War Saturday morning.
The event began with a formal ceremony, followed by breakfast served by the Leon County Commissioners office. This year marked the 65th anniversary of the United States engaging in combat with Korea, a war also known as the “Forgotten War.”
Approximately 1.7 million American men and woman fought in this war, according to U.S. Census statistics. Coincidentally, more than 1,700 veterans have made their home in Leon County.
Oscar Williams, a Korean War veteran, was delighted about today’s ceremony. Williams served three years in the war, and he was thrilled soldiers were finally being honored.
“I think it’s great that someone thought about me,” said Williams. “We [Korean War soldiers] have been long overdue to be recognized.”
The ceremony opened with a performance of the National Anthem by the Lawton Chiles High School Choir, and was led by the chairman, Mary Ann Lindley. Major John L. Haynes, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker.
Major Haynes affirmed the historical and prominent role these soldiers played in American history. His address to the community also reminded us of how vital soldiers are to the protection of our freedom.
“I can tell you that you Korean soldiers, sailors, Air Force and Marines, you rank among the best,” said Haynes. “It’s the veterans and not the preacher who protected your freedom for religion. It’s the veterans and not the reporter who protected your freedom of press. It’s the veterans and not the poet who protected your freedom of speech. It’s the veterans and not the campus professor who protected your freedom to assemble. It’s the veterans and not the lawyer who protected your right to a fair trial. It’s the veterans not the politician who has protected your right to vote.”
Lindley, in her closing statement, expressed how this was a great way to kick off Armed Force Day. “Today’s event proves that Leon County has not forgotten, and continues to honor the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women. We support our local armed forces members, veterans and families, and this event is just one of many ways we say thank you.”