DOYLESTOWN >> On a cool, overcast Thursday, July 27 the Board of Bucks County Commissioners and the Bucks County Yong Dung Po Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association remembered "The Forgotten War" during the county's 17th annual Korean War Armistice Day Ceremony.
The Bucks County Courthouse Memorial Courtyard was filled with 21 Korean War veterans – all of whom stood to be recognized - their families and a Marine Corps detail on the 64th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
The occasion is an annual remembrance of the 38 Bucks Countians who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Korean War.
Emceed by 86-year-old Korean War veteran Jerry Jonas, who was a 22-year-old when the guns went silent, the ceremony represents “a very special day for veterans of the Korean War.
"For those of us who served, it’s hard to believe 64 years have passed. If I close my eyes, it seems like only weeks,” he said.
Mr. Jonas also remembered fellow veteran Kenneth Goodrow, who passed away during the last year.
Commissioner Chairman Charles H. Martin welcomed the attendees, noting that the Korean War Memorial structure recently was refurbished by the Bucks County General Services division. He thanked all the assembled veterans for their service, including the uniformed members of the 14th Marine Artillery Regiment who remain on active duty.
Chairman Martin added that he has attended all but one of the 17 county Korean War ceremonies during his commissioner tenure. He concluded with a quote from President Calvin Coolidge, who famously said, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
Bucks County Director of Veterans Affairs Dan Fraley delivered the keynote address, painting a story of hardship and sacrifice that Korean veterans authored.
“I didn’t realize how bloody the Korean War was until I did some research,” he said, noting that conditions reached 50 below zero at times during the war. “There were 131 Medals of Honor awarded during Korea, because of the American spirit I believe.”
Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey sent his best wishes through a member of his staff, offering an Abraham Lincoln quote about those who fight in the United States Armed Services must be prepared to offer “the last full measure of devotion.”
During the Korean War, approximately 37,000 American soldiers were killed and 102,000 were wounded before the guns fell silent after three years of continuous fighting. Another 8,200 remain missing to this day.
Honored veterans, family members and dignitaries laid wreaths and 38 long-stemmed red roses at the Korean Memorial. The ceremony concluded with a rifle salute in the Memorial courtyard. A full list of those honored during the hour-long event is below:
Bucks County's Korean War Honored Dead
Harold L. Adams – U.S. Army
Auston W. Beetle – U.S. Air Force
Herbert Besch Jr. – U.S. Army
Matthew J. Biedka – U.S. Air Force
Robert E. Brown – U.S. Army
Donald L. Clayton – U.S. Marine Corps
Harry Y. Eisenbray – U.S. Navy
Hans W. Grahl – U.S. Marine Corps
Warren H. Harms – U.S. Army
Thurle L. Hileman – U.S. Army
John J. Holden – U.S. Army
John D. Hunsberger – U.S. Marine Corps
Norbert G. Hurt – U.S. Army
Casimir P. Kaczor – U.S. Army
Edward B. Keller – U.S. Army
Harold D. Kellett – U.S. Army
William R. Lewis – U.S. Marine Corps
Attilio M. Lupacchini – U.S. Marine Corps
Bruce F. Mathewson - U.S. Marine Corps
John J. McDonnell – U.S. Army
Raymond H. Miller – U.S. Army
James L. Niblick – U.S. Army
Robert J. Ortlip – U.S. Navy
Warren E. Palmer – U.S. Army
Paul E. Riess – U.S. Army
Clarence F. Rotenberger – U.S. Army
John M. Rozear Jr. – U.S. Army
Christopher Schlitz – U.S. Army
Thomas F. Solometo – U.S. Army
John M.L. Stern Jr. – U.S. Army
George W. Supplee – U.S. Air Force
John J. Truan – U.S. Army
William F. Underdown - U.S. Army
Richard Vaneekhoven – U.S. Army
Walter G. Wieckowski – U.S. Army
William J. Wiley – U.S. Army
Gracian H. White – U.S. Army
Bernard M. Young – Marine Corps