By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Rocky Anobile says he and his fellow veterans once tried to forget their service in the Korean War. Today, he's trying to help people remember those who lost their lives in the war.
Anobile, 71, of Cornersburg, is a member of the Korean War Veterans' Association Chapter 137. The organization is among the six veterans groups that have displays in tents next to the Mahoning Veterans' Memorial at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
The four branches of the military also have displays in tents next to the memorial, which is on the western side of the fairgrounds near state Route 46.
Some of the veterans staffing the tents Wednesday said they hope their displays will help fairgoers remember the sacrifice others have made to protect the country. Anobile stressed that his organization is trying to earn recognition for the 54,000 people who died during the Korean War.
"They never came home to be parents, grandparents, because they died over there at 17 years of age," he said. "We're talking because they can't talk."
Harry Dampf, a member of the Marine Corps League Detachment 494, stressed that he thinks the memorial and the displays provide fairgoers with "a look into history."
"We're just here to inform people what happened in the past, " said Dampf, 62, of Canfield.
Frank Sokol, a retired Marine from North Lima, added that he's grateful the fair has provided space for the tents and the memorial.
"It's great that they set aside a place for us," said Sokol, 66. "It's an honor."
AMVETS State Commander J.P. Brown III said the first veterans' memorial at the fair was a grove of 14 buckeye trees and a wooden plaque that honored military casualties from 14 Mahoning County townships. He isn't sure when the trees were planted.
The Buckeye trees surround a 200-year-old log cabin, two flagpoles, plaques bearing the logos of the four branches of the military and the Coast Guard, and a stone monument that reads, "The hero dead cannot expire; the dead still play their part." The cabin was donated by the Elmer Riehl family of Columbiana and moved to the fairgrounds in 1992.
Displays about the military are set up in the cabin during the fair. Local community and veterans groups use the cabin the rest of the year, Brown said.
A nonprofit organization called the Mahoning Veterans Memorial Inc. is raising money to improve and maintain the cabin. Brown is president of the organization, which also coordinated the donation of the log cabin.
"With it being as old as it is, there's a ton of maintenance," Brown said.
Richard Baker, 81, a Youngstown resident and World War II veteran, is among those helping to raise money to maintain the cabin. Baker said he and other veterans appreciate the message of the cabin and the memorial.
"It's being recognized as having been a veteran and having made a contribution to the country," he said.