By Rhonda Costa
The Korean War Memorial at Riverview Park will get a final addition around the first of May when 4,400 pounds of polished marble from South Korea will be mounted atop a cement pedestal.
The memorial began as an idea from the late Richard Hyde, former president of the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 198 of Northern Nevada, and has come to fruition with the help of the community, the Korean War Veterans Association of Carson City 305 and the Korean American Association of Reno.
"The bottom line is, we want to finish the project," said Angelo De Felice, president of Chapter 305. The chapter started the project in February 2005 afer the Carson City Board of Supervisors approved a portion of the park be named Korean War Veterans Memorial Park.
"This is our appreciation to (South Koreans). We think it's a good idea. The rock came from there, and there's a lot of symbolism in that."
The memorial is one of two Korean War memorials in Nevada. The other one is in Sparks.
Chief Vice President of the Korean American Association Dr. Seungil Ro said the association is proud the state of Nevada has provided a location for the memorial.
"We are very happy to work with the Korean War Veterans Association of Carson City in celebration of this new memorial," Ro said. "First, we want to educate the younger generation about the sacrifices of their elders, both American and Korean, in liberating Korea to become a full democracy.
"Second, we believe that this memorial monument will become a symbol of the blood-tied alliance between America and South Korea, which will help maintain this close relationship. Third, the Korean Americans want to contribute our money and time in America."
The monument was made possible through a grant provided by the South Korean government and contributions from members of the Korean American Association. The president of the KAA is Mike Son.
In addition to the marble, a replica of the U.S. Marine Corps M1 Garand Rifle and steel helmet " used as a grave marker for fallen comrades in battle, will be placed atop the brick pedestal displaying the names of 34 Nevadans who were killed in action in Korea. Another pedestal site holds a replica of a typical Korean house of that time period.
Dedication will be held beginning at 9:45 a.m. May 16, Armed Forces Day.
"Ironically, Nevada sits along the 38th Parallel that also divides Korea," said De Felice.
There are memorial bricks at the park, which are available for $50 each. The name, rank, service branch and dates served are noted on each brick.
"We still have room for about 200 bricks," said Val Jensen, treasurer. "This is the only Korean War memorial monument in the state of Nevada. For me, my time enlisted was well worth it. I have no regrets."
"The American Korean War veterans are deeply appreciated by the Korean people," Ro added. "South Korea would not exist without their blood and sweat during the Korean War. This event and dedication of this new memorial gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude."
Ro said most members of the KAA are those who immigrated to American from South Korea, others are the children of the first generation who were born in America.
WHAT: Nevada Korean War Memorial Dedication
WHEN: 9:45 a.m. May 16
WHERE: Korean War Memorial Park, east end of Fifth Street at Riverview Park
INCLUDES: Carson City Community Band; welcome message; presentation of colors; invocation; retire the colors; exchange of commemorative flags; dedication proclamation; Korean Dance Group; presentation of Korean commemorative medals; benediction; volley firing party; taps; postlude
ALSO: Commemorative bricks
COST: $50 each
INCLUDES: name, rank and service, and years in Korean theater
CALL: Val Jensen, 882-1739