AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — 122 men from the tri-county area died in the Korean War and they were remembered on Sunday at a special ceremony in Austintown.
Coming to the Korean War Memorial was peaceful for Kathy Bowman, she got to spend time with her uncle.
“Private William M. Baker was killed in Korea on May 23, 1951, the day he landed,” said Bowman.
Bowman was only 3 years old at the time, but knew something was wrong.
The lady he was engaged to at the time was holding me on her lap, and I looked at her and I said, ‘Is Uncle Bill coming home?’ And she said, ‘No, he’ll not be home again,'” said Bowman.
63 years later, a lot of Bowman’s family has passed away. She said it’s important for her to remember Uncle Bill.
“But there’s always that little hole, that little thought: What if,” Bowman said.
Private Baker and his fellow brothers who died in Korea were also remembered Sunday in Austintown.
Korean War veteran John Pariza has been coming to the ceremony for 11 years. He was in Korea when the war started and has two purple hearts.
“I got two names on there, Jimmy Bobovnyk and Dick Whalen. I went over there with in 1950 and I’m the only one that came back,” said Pariza.
He waves hi to them every time he passes by. He doesn’t want to forget them and the thousands of men who died in what some call the forgotten war.
“I don’t like it when people say it’s a police action cause over 54,000 got killed in three years. 8,100 still missing, 104,000 wounded in action,” explained Pariza.
A rose was placed at the memorial for every Valley man who died in the war.
Bowman paused to remember her uncle.
“It’s a loss that even though I was three, I still feel today,” finished Bowman.
Major Scott Allen from the 910th Air Reserve Station was the guest speaker at the ceremony. He said that some of the research that he did for his speech included how the U.S. got involved in Korea after World War II and said the situation was very much part of the Cold War. He explained why the Korean War is referred to as The Forgotten War.
“During that year of fighting there was very little media involvement, so it was not televised it wasn’t advertised like World War II and Vietnam when there was such building up on our own home front,” said Allen.
Allen added that the Korean War was about dictatorship and tyranny and U.S. soldiers fought for freedom.