The 60th anniversary observance of the cease-fire in Korea Saturday in Krog Park was a success because of the tremendous cooperation given to the Washington Chapter 324 of the Korean War Veterans Association, sponsor of the event. The weather also cooperated with temperatures in the high 70s.
The city of Washington really went all out to assist the Korean War veterans. Mayor Sandy Lucy’s administration did everything that was requested of the city, and in a very efficient manner. Darren Dunkle, parks department director, met every challenge in moving the event from Fifth Street, as originally planned, to a shady area in the park next to the Korean War Memorial. His department and other city workers set up the speakers’ platform on grass next to the memorial, hauled and set up the chairs and tables, took care of electrical power for the PA system and handled other chores as needed.
Police Chief Ken Hahn and his officers, Fire Chief Bill Halmich and his firefighters, Washington Ambulance District personnel, and other volunteers all had duties and performed well.
Mercy Hospital Washington granted a major favor in permitting people to park on the Doctors Building parking lot, across from the park. Without the use of that lot, people would have had a very difficult time finding parking spaces. The lot was filled. Hillermann Nursery & Florist provided golf carts and personnel to transport people who needed assistance to the park from the lot.
A large number of Boy Scouts from local troops assisted in many ways, especially in handing out medallions to veterans. They were very helpful.
The state of Missouri provided the wreath that Gov. Jay Nixon placed at the memorial. Several members of the governor’s staff assisted the Chapter 324 committee in planning the governor’s visit. They were very cooperative.
As usual, the Washington Brass Band provided patriotic music. The band, under the direction of Don Hahne, added much to the program. Don also sounded Taps.
The Bank of Washington provided bottled water, the Paper Chase donated the “thank you” sign, the Missourian Publishing Co. printed the programs free of charge, with the cover picture by Jeanne Miller Wood. The singing by Miss Connie Jones was the equal of any professional singer. She was outstanding in singing the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
Members of American Legion Post 218 and VFW Post 2661 were participants and gave the program the military “veterans’ touch.”
Giving the program an added feature was the appearance and speeches by two natives of South Korea, Suann Taylor, Union, and Han Ko, St. Louis. The Rev. David Armstrong and Father Mike Boehm delivered the invocation and benediction respectively. Their cooperation was appreciated. Les Eckelkamp, a Korean War veteran, presented the GI’s perspective of the war. His talk was well received.
Commander Dave Anderson of Washington Chapter 324 of the Korean War Veterans acted as master of ceremonies. He also handled many of the details in arranging the program.
Even though the program was long, about an hour and 45 minutes, the crowd stayed and many compliments have been heard about the overall recognition given to the Korean War veterans. For most of them, they never had been publicly recognized for their service before. It has taken a long time. Unfortunately, many have passed on and were never recognized in their lifetimes.