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Remembering Korean War veterans

Remembering Korean War veterans

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

many times.

"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

it.

"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

said.

"In three years, we lost almost as many as they lost in Vietnam in 10 years."

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