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Groups trying to put up Korean War memorial
Estimated cost of monument is $7,400
Korean War veterans, from left, David Coker, Charles Sexton and Paul Scroggs sit Saturday in front of the potential future site of a Korean War memorial to be placed in the Rock Creek Greenway off the Gainesville square. - photo by SARA GUEVARA


Korean War Veterans of Georgia is trying to identify all Hall County residents killed in action during the Korean War. Call Paul Scroggs, the group’s president, at 770-967-1329 if you have more information.

A group of Korean War veterans doesn't want its fallen comrades to be as "forgotten" as the war itself.

Korean War Veterans of Georgia, made up of members from throughout Northeast Georgia, is trying to establish a monument at Rock Creek Greenway off Academy Street and Northside Drive.

The organization already has a memorial near the Georgia Mountains Center, but it's small, tucked away and doesn't account for veterans killed in Korea during a designated time after the war.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has ruled that anyone serving in Korea between June 1950 and January 1955 is a Korean War veteran. The war officially ended July 27, 1953.

"We're searching all the records we can through the VA and local funeral homes to see if anyone else was killed (in the extended time frame)," said Paul Scroggs, Korean War Veterans of Georgia's longtime president.

He said the group has found one person who was shot by a sniper in 1954.

Hall County had six men die between 1950 and 1953: Willie Watkins, Oliver McGuire, Alfard R. Bisemor, Oscar Martin, Thomas R. Jarrard and Charles D. Lipscomb.

The Korean War memorial effort started with a suggestion by Johnny Hulsey, who led a previous effort to erect a Vietnam War monument in 2007 at Rock Creek Greenway.

He assured the group they were "not forgotten," Scroggs said.

The perception is that, of America's wars in the last century, World War II and Vietnam tend to get the most recognition and publicity and that Korea gets overlooked. Scroggs said he believes that is because Korea took place so soon after World War II and "everyone was tired of war."

"We won World War II and the whole country was united," said Scroggs, whose group meets monthly at Central Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Korea was "played down as a police action, and some have called it a conflict," Scroggs said. "But to us, it was a war — 33,000 boys left home and didn't come back."

The monument has special meaning for Scroggs, a Hall County native who was in the Navy during Korea.

He particularly remembered Oscar Martin, who "lived almost inside of my house," Scroggs said.

Dave Dellinger, commander of the American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 on Riverside Drive in Gainesville, said several area veterans groups have been meeting "to try to work together on things and we all decided to come together on this (memorial project)."

"We're all spearheading it to make sure it occurs," he added.

"The Korean War veterans are getting older, like the World War II ones, and if we don't do it while they're still here, it won't mean anything," Dellinger said.

The monument is estimated to cost $7,400, and the group has raised $700 so far.

Hulsey, speaking at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam War memorial, said he felt confident about the mission.

"I hope and pray by next year at this time, these guys will have their ... memorial," he said. "I think it's coming together and I think it's possible."