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Korean War memorial dedicated for Hall veterans

POSTED: October 27, 2012 11:59 p.m.

The Korean War Veterans of Georgia unveiled and dedicated a memorial Saturday at Rock Creek Veterans Park in Gainesville at in honor of 11 men from Hall County who died nearly 60 years ago in the war.

Though, the Korean conflict sometimes referred to as the “forgotten war,” the 11 men won’t be forgotten.

Instead, their names and legacies are enshrined into Gainesville’s history forever.

The ceremony was a vision of both the Korean War Veterans of Georgia and the Korean-American Community in Georgia. The event had been months in the making.

“It was a long time coming,” said Charles Sexton, a Korean veteran, secretary and treasurer of the veterans group.

“We’re real proud of (the memorial). The first time I saw (the memorial), it almost made me cry.”

The 11 names on the wall are: Pvt. William D. Wallace, Pvt. Thomas R. Jarrard, Pvt. Howard D. O’Kelly, Pvt. Jimmy L. Shadburn, 1st Lt. Alphard Vismor, Cpl. Oscar D. Martin, Cpl. Charles D. Lipscomb, Cpl. Oliver H. McGuire, Sgt. William M. Ledford, Tech. Sgt. Bryson A. Reed and Sgt. 1st class Willie J. Watkins.

The Hall County Sheriff Honor Guard group marched in the ceremony and presented both the American and Korean flags.

The crowd was treated to music by the Hope Johns Creek Korean American Youth Orchestra, who played the national anthems of both nations.

Heyward Hosch, a member of the veterans group, spoke about the significance of the Korean War. He thanked families of the veterans, city and county officials and the Korean friends who, “made this memorial possible.”

“The men that we are here to honor today, left Hall County over 60 years ago to fight for a country that they’d never heard of, and for a people they didn’t know,” Hosch said.

The keynote speaker was Sunny K. Park, President of Good Neighbor Foundation. In July, he presented the Korean War Veterans a $14,500 check from the “Korean-American Community in Georgia” to help fund the memorial. He also helped oversee its plans.

“It is a great privilege to ...help us remember those fallen heroes and the Korean War for a long time,” Park said.

After his opening remarks, Park bowed twice to the memorial.

“This is the Korean way to pay tribute the most respectful way,” he said.

Park also presented plaques to the veterans.

A wreath was laid, followed by a 21-gun salute from the Hall County Sheriff Honor Guard.

“It was real nice, and showed the appreciation that the veterans and Korean people have of the people who came over and protected their freedom,” said Carey Sexton, grandson of Charles Sexton. He said he hopes to see more such memorials be constructed around the state and country.

The memorial is located off Northside Drive and Academy Street in Gainesville. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located in the same park.


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