(Click photo for larger view)
(Click photo for larger view)
There was no memorial to the Korean War for the Veterans in Pinellas County FL! Chapter 14 KWVA had
already become involved with community service in the county. Not having a memorial became a subject of
interest and action at a regular meeting on 8/20/2000. The situation had to be changed. The design became a
contest for members.
A design had finally been approved by the membership with a model being made however
when the approximate cost of $20,000/30,000 was brought up discouragement became the highlight. The
organization was doing okay financially but the figure was excessive at the time.
Motivation is a powerful
incentive! Committees were formed for location, funding, construction Etc. Various parks, city, county and
state were checked. A group met with ex-mayor Cecil Bradbury of Pinellas Park. He agreed to bring the item
up at the next city council meeting. The vote was positive and mayor Bill Mischler said for Chapter 14 to
pick the location in the park. A group of Chapter 14 members picked a shady area near the large Flag.
Freedom Lake Park is adjacent to nearby highways and is located along a small lake centrally located in the
A beehive of activity followed, there was still much to do. Solicitation for funds used various
formats: The giving of American Flags for donations at several retail establishments as well as Tropicana
Field (the Tampa Bay Devil Rays home) proved fruitful. Each week volunteers hawked their message and people
listened. The Korean Presbyterian Church of Pinellas Park, Wal-Mart and the Korean Newspaper in nearby Tampa
A decision was made to surround the memorial with bricks. This also turned into a
fundraiser by selling the bricks to anyone interested. Names of Vets and their families are inscribed on the
bricks. The bricks turned into a major source of income as the memorial was coming to life.
took place on June 25th of 2002, 49 years after the war started. The dedication was on July 27th, 50 years
after the war ended. Excess funds, an impressive amount, was left over after the project. They were turned
over to the city of Pinellas Park enabling a perpetual scholarship fund for Pinellas Park High School.
Conditions were that the senior students at the high school could compete in an essay contest. The subject
was the Korean War. Students were required to visit the memorial and read the words inscribed. A committee
was formed to visit the school and talk to the senior students about the Korean War and the essay contest.
Results have been overwhelming.
It is impossible to list all of those who worked on the project and the
hours worked as many have stood their last Reveille. Suffice to say that those who were a part feel a tingle
down their back each time they are there, knowing full well that they were a vital part of history fifty
years ago and again, fifty years later.
Photos and story provided by Harold Macking, Webmaster, FL Chapter #14 - Suncoast