INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- It has been called the "forgotten war," but beginning
next week, motorists on Interstate 69 in Indiana will be traveling a new
tribute to its veterans.
Ceremonies are planned in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis on Wednesday to
dedicate the interstate as the Korean Veterans Memorial Highway, the result of
a resolution approved last session by the General Assembly.
Signs will be placed at various locations along the highway, which in this
state stretches 157 miles from northeast Indianapolis to the Michigan border in
far northeastern Indiana.
"To honor the veterans like this is really something, and the signs along
the highway will be very meaningful," Fred Isch, the mayor of Decatur and a
Korean War veteran, said Friday.
Isch served for 14 months in Korea, where one of his best friends from high
school lost his life. More than 54,000 Americans were killed in Korea between
1950 and 1953, including 923 dead or missing in action from Indiana.
The war was marked by a first year of dramatic, far-reaching maneuvers and
two more years of static, positional battle along mountainous terrain.
Men often fought hand-to-hand for small pieces of territory called
Punchbowl, Pork Chop Hill, Heartbreak Ridge, Bunker Hill. Each changed hands
"Most people don't know what Pork Chop Hill means, but a lot of us do," said
Isch, who will speak at the Veterans National Memorial Shrine in Fort Wayne as
part of the highway dedication.
Another ceremony is planned Wednesday at the Korean War Memorial on the
American Legion Mall Grounds in downtown Indianapolis.
State Rep. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, introduced the resolution at the request of
the Howard County Veterans Association, and the other 99 House members signed
"I had been told all through this process that the Korean War has basically
been shoved aside by World War II and Vietnam ... and it's been long overdue
that Indiana recognize the sacrifices and service they provided," Buck said.
"This is a way of the General Assembly saying, `We have not forgotten."'
Republican Sen. Thomas Wyss of Fort Wayne said the Indiana Toll Road has
been dedicated in memory of Indiana veterans of World War I and II, and a
portion of U.S. 31 in memory of Vietnam War veterans.
"Hopefully it will not only pay tribute to (Korean War) veterans as they
drive I-69, but also with the general public, it's going to make them think
about maybe a small honor they will place in their minds," Wyss said.
John Settle, past president of the Korean War Veterans Association, Indiana
Chapter No. 1, said most of the organization's 250 members plan to attend the
ceremony in Fort Wayne.
He said they also have notified 45 American Legion and Veterans of Foreign
War posts around the state.
"This has been basically the forgotten war, and the forgotten veterans," he
"In three years, we lost almost as many as they lost in Vietnam in 10 years."