A Hall County man’s efforts to honor his late father turned into a larger remembrance of a group of local men who served in the Korean War.
A ceremony Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Gainesville home of Heyward Hosch, one of the veterans, can be traced to about six months ago, when Chris Truelove flipped through a Korean War veterans magazine that belonged to his dad.
He saw where POSCO America Corp., a South Korean company with U.S. headquarters in Johns Creek, was honoring Korean War veterans with plaques made using stainless steel that the company produces.
Truelove contacted the company and shared about his father, John C. “Charlie” Truelove, a veteran of the 1950-53 conflict who died in December 2019.
After the company said it would make a plaque honoring his father, Chris Truelove told the company “there are other Korean War veterans in Gainesville,” said Sara Bae, a POSCO human resources official who handed out plaques at the ceremony with Kun Youp Kim, another HR official.
After some more legwork, POSCO was able to arrange for more awards. In all, nine veterans, wearing dark coats and ties and wearing Korean War veteran hats, showed up for the ceremony.
“It’s a true honor to meet every one of you,” said Bae, a Korean native.
Each of the plaques contain a photo of the veteran and the inscription, “We will remember all the sacrifices you made for our country. Thank you for your service during the Korean War.”
The war, which killed more than 33,000 U.S. military service members, is often regarded as a “forgotten war” because it came so closely on the heels of World War II and ended in a stalemate.
But for Jack Enkemann, holding his plaque in his hands, the war is anything but a distant memory..
He was happy to receive the recognition, “but the only problem is something like this takes me back,” he said. “I spent 4 ½ months over there — it was an interesting time of my life. You can’t forget it.”
Veterans gathered for group photos, some seated and some standing but all of them between U.S. and South Korean flags.
Standing in for Charlie Truelove was his son.
Chris Truelove said he was happy to see the crowd get the recognition, but, in remembering his dad, he had one regret about the magazine article.
“I just wish I saw it a little earlier,” he said.