Mountain Home to host special ceremony for Korean veterans on anniversary of Armistice

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A group of veterans who sometimes seem forgotten among their comrades in arms will be the guests of honor at a special ceremony next week.

Mountain Home National Cemetery is hosting a Roll Call of Honor for Korean Veterans and a Ceremony Honoring Korean Veterans on Thursday, July 27 at the cemetery. The Roll Call of Honor will begin at 8 a.m. with the Ceremony commencing at 10 a.m.

The ceremony will take place on the 64th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which ended the Korean War and established a demilitarized zone between what became North Korea and South Korea.

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“This is a really special occasion,” said Jeny Walker, Director of Mountain Home National Cemetery.

Often times, Walker said, the Korean War veterans feel as if no one remembers them or their service.

When troops returned home from World War II, they were celebrated with parades. Soldiers returning from Vietnam were met with protests and hostility.

“The Korean guys just weren’t treated at all,” Walker said. “Everyone was so tired of war they were just ready for it to be over.”

“These guys will tell you ‘We are the forgotten soldiers of the forgotten war,’” she added.

It is Walker’s goal that they are forgotten no longer.

When the cemetery decided to host this special event, Walker reached out to local veteran groups, businesses, and other organizations and she has been met with an outpouring of support.

“Everyone wants to be on board for these guys,” Walker said.

The Vietnam Veterans of America will be conducting the Honor Guard. The Daughters of the American Revolution have purchased sashes for all of the Korean veterans to wear. Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder will be taking part in the event, as will the Johnson City Police Department and Johnson City Fire Department. CitiBank is providing employees to serve as one-on-one veteran escorts for the event to assist them through the cemetery and provide support during the ceremony. And, Walker said, those are just some of the agencies who signed on to take part in the event.

The day will begin at 8 a.m. with a Roll Call of Honor where volunteers will read aloud the names of all 2,172 Korean veterans interred at Mountain Home. At 10 a.m. the Ceremony will begin.

When Walker began planning the event, she reached out to a local Korean veterans group to find out what they would like for the ceremony. The first thing the veterans asked for, she said, was a chance to be heard.

“They want to share their story,” she said. “They want to talk about where they were when the Armistice was signed.”

Walker wants to invite any and all veterans of the Korean War to come to the cemetery on July 27 to be part of the ceremony. Those veterans wishing to attend are asked to be at the cemetery at 9:30 that morning, if they are not attending the Roll Call, so they can be escorted to the ceremony area.

For more information on the event, please contact the Mountain Home National Cemetery at 423-979-3535.