HAGERSTOWN — Korean War veterans are asking for the public’s help to build a monument to honor Washington County veterans who served in that conflict.
Charles Mobley, chairman of the monument committee, said Antietam Chapter 312 of the Korean War Veterans Association voted earlier this month to build the granite memorial on Mealey Parkway near the site of the old Hagerstown High School.
The only thing the association needs is about $70,000 in donations from the public and the city’s approval.
The monument is scheduled to be discussed Tuesday by the City Council.
“Right now we have $2,000, and we’re expecting another $1,000 from the (Washington County) Joint Veterans Council,” Mobley said. “Our target date for the dedication is July 27, 2013.”
That date will mark the 60th anniversary of the war’s end.
The Korean War, or the “Forgotten War” as it is sometimes called, started June 25, 1950, when communist forces from North Korea invaded the South. Early in the fighting, South Korean forces were routed and driven into a small pocket of resistance until United Nations forces led by U.S. troops mounted a successful counterattack.
According to the Department of Defense, 33,739 Americans died as the result of hostilities during the war, and 103,284 were wounded. Roughly 1.79 million Americans served in the Korean theater of operations.
A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, the 83-year-old Mobley said the monument would be about 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It is to include a tablet with the names of the 31 Washington County residents who were killed in action during the war.
He said if the veterans raise more money than they need to build the monument, the remainder would be placed in a fund to maintain the site and pay for philanthropic causes.
Among other things, the 63 members of Antietam Chapter 312 award an annual $500 college scholarship and visit local schools to educate students about the war.
Mobley said they can’t order the monument until they have the money, but it would mean a lot to the veterans to see the project come to fruition.
“We are in our 70s and 80s,” he said. “We are a dying breed. There is an urgency to do this.”
To make a donation:
Send donations to C. Mobley, 11814 Linbar Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742. Make checks payable to Antietam Chapter 312 Monument Fund. Donations are tax-deductible.