As the anniversary of the start of the Korean War approaches, the Valley honored veterans from the tri-county area killed during the war at the annual Laying of the Roses ceremony Sunday in Austintown.
122 roses were placed at the Korean War Memorial at Austintown Veterans Park. Each representing the 122 soldiers from the tri-county area killed during the Korean War, which started June 25 1950 and ended July 27 1953.
“We wanna remember those who gave their life for your freedom,” said Zeno Foley, Commander of the Korean War Vets Chapter 137.
The Laying of the Roses ceremony started more than 10 years ago, back in 2002. Organizers are determined to keep it relevant, being aware that it’s often called the forgotten war.
“Every time there’s a ceremony and they talk, they go from World War II to Vietnam, and Korea was in between,” said Foley.
However, Korean War Vets aren’t the only ones making sure it’s never forgotten. Victor Scurry of Warren is a Vietnam Veteran who shows up as often as he can for the ceremony.
“ I just came to pay my respects for them because I know quite a few of them,” said Scurry. “It’s just the right thing to do; honor our vets.”
Kathy Bowman came for her uncle, William Baker. She’s never missed a ceremony.
“He was killed in Korea on may 25, 1951, the day after his 24th birthday,” said Bowman.
She was impressed with the event but disappointed in the public turnout.
“Do they think we’re not in a war now? Do they not think soldiers are dying everyday and they can’t take a half hour, an hour out of the day to honor them?” questioned Bowman.
More than 35,000 soldiers died in the Korean War, and 8,000 went missing in action.
There was a special rose for Medal of Honor recipient John D. Kelly, who was from Youngstown. He was killed in combat.