Korean War memorial dedicated at Stuttgart
Stars and Stripes July 27, 2003
STUTTGART, Germany — About 200 members of the Stuttgart military community attended a dedication ceremony Friday for a Korean War Memorial near the headquarters of the U.S. European Command.
Making remarks at the ceremony was Army Col. Larry Stubblefield, who left his post as commander of the 6th Area Support Group during a change of command ceremony also held Friday.
Stubblefield told the crowd that veterans of the Korean War should be remembered.
“We’ve heard of the great and bloody battle and fights in Korea,” Stubblefield said. “There is the proof the motto ‘Freedom is not free’ is not just a bumper sticker slogan. You are not forgotten.”
Spearheaded by American Legion Post 6, community members raised more than $3,000 for the memorial on Patch Barracks adjacent to Washington Square. In the past year, the area has become filled with other memorials, including one for the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Army Lt. Col. Mark A. Riccio, of EUCOM’s Plans and Policy Directorate, was chairman of the memorial committee and had an uncle who served in the Army during the Korean War.
“We want people to remember,” said Riccio, who also distributed lapel pins to people with family members who served in the Korean War.
Americans sustained nearly 37,000 deaths during the war, which lasted from June 25, 1950, to July 1953. The war began when North Korea attacked South Korea.
Goyo Chavez Mata, who now lives outside Stuttgart, was a medic captured near the start of the war and was in captivity for more than three years.
“Most of the people I was with died,” said Mata, who attended the ceremony with five other Korean War veterans.
“When I got back, there were parades for us. We weren’t forgotten,” Mata said.
With North Korea’s saber-rattling over the issue of nuclear weapons, Mata said he does not think the North has the military might to threaten that region of the world or the United States.
“I just don’t think they’re that powerful,” he said.
The memorial features inscriptions on three of its faces to commemorate the Americans and other military personnel who fought in Korea.
But, Stubblefield said, the side facing north was left blank to symbolize North Korea, whose fate is still being written.
“It is not decided yet. … Its dictator threatens nuclear war, and its people are starving,” he said.
The dedication included flag-lowering ceremonies, a bugler and a five-piece bagpipe-and-drum band.
The American Legion raised most of its money by selling hot dogs and hamburgers, Riccio said, and the Stuttgart Chapter of the Air Force Sergeants Association also made a donation.