Ceremony in Austintown today honors veterans of Korean War

Staff report


One hundred and twenty-one men from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties who lost their lives in the Korean war were honored Sunday at the annual Korean War Veterans Memorial Ceremony at Austintown Veterans Park in Wickliffe Circle.

The event, sponsored by the Korean War Veterans Association of Mahoning Valley Chapter 137, was designed to honor all local veterans of the war -- living and dead.

Chapter Cmdr. Bob Bakalik said the sacrifices made by soldiers in that conflict from 1950 to 1953 were large. “They answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” he told the dozens on hand for the ceremony.

The chapter represents more than 10,000 men and women from the Mahoning Valley who served worldwide during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Susan Krawchyk, director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission.

She said the war marked the opening struggles of the Cold War. It ended as “a victory of freedom over oppression,” she said.

Sunday’s ceremony also included a reading of the names of casualties from the tri-county area, a rifle salute, laying of a rose in honor of Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient John Kelly from the Mahoning Valley and the playing of Taps.

The chapter holds the ceremony annually on or near the July 27 anniversary of the signing of an armistice that ended the fighting in 1953.

Earlier this year, the leaders of North and South Korea met at the demilitarized zone and agreed to sign a treaty by the end of the year to formally end the Korean War.

More than 54,000 Americans died in the conflict.

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