As a breeze rustled the trees in Memorial Park in Frederick, Fred Becker read the names of the soldiers who "paid the ultimate sacrifice” during the Korean War.
" ... Paul Brandenburg, Paul Carty, Jacob Ely ... "
Between each name, Becker paused, and Glenn Wienhoff rang a small, golden bell — the sound carrying through the park.
Becker, commander of the Korean War Veterans Association Colonel William E. Weber Chapter #142 of Frederick County, was one of the many veterans in blue jackets at Memorial Park Tuesday to pay their respects to the 26 veterans from the county who died in the Korean War. Overall, some 36,000 American service members died in the conflict.
Tuesday marked the 68th anniversary of the day the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, effectively ending the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953.
Becker served in the Marine Corps with the Third Charlie Company, Shore Party, 1st Division. Charles "Chip" Chipley served in the Navy and was on the U.S.S. Rochester in the Philippines when the war started. He sailed up to Korea and stayed for about two years.
On Tuesday, he and Becker laid a wreath at Memorial Park in honor of the fallen, just as they have many years prior.
“It’s hard to believe that there were that many people, the numbers just boggle my mind when you know that many people lost their lives,” Becker said.
The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War." Because of this, Becker, Chipley and the other veterans feel it’s up to them and their organization to honor all soldiers, not just those from Frederick.
Priscilla Rall, former director of the Frederick County Veterans History Project, spoke during the ceremony about the valor of the soldiers and praised the building of the Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C., which plays a part in the KWVA's mission of remembrance.
Col. William E. Weber, Korean War veteran and the chapter's namesake, was part of a committee that advocated for the D.C. memorial. One of the statues is fashioned after Weber — it's is the only one looking at the etched wall, Rall said.
Rall hopes that the memorial gives comfort to the families of the more than 7,000 men still missing. It may not be a grave to visit, but they will be able to see their family member’s name etched in stone, she said.
“Tell your children, your grandchildren, tell your friends so it can be passed down when our generation is gone,” Rall said. “This is what I say: the 'Forgotten War' will no longer be forgotten.”