Mailing a rock: $1,200. Honoring veterans: priceless
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — It’s not easy mailing a 145-pound rock from Seoul to Tampa, Fla.
Harry Lee, a civilian employee with U.S. Forces Korea, learned that lesson when he became involved in a project to donate a rock for a Korean War memorial under construction in the United States.
Lee said that by the time the rock was wrapped for shipment, the package weighed close to 180 pounds and cost him about $1,200 to send via FedEx.
Lee’s brother-in-law, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association, asked Lee for a stone from “Green Beach,” a site of the Inchon Landing that helped turn the tide of the war.
The memorial, which opens to the public Nov. 11, will be dedicated to Marine Lt. Baldomero Lopez, a Medal of Honor recipient who threw himself on a grenade during the landing.
Lee was able to assist in the project because of his friendship with retired Gen. Paik Sun-yup, South Korea’s most famous war hero.
When Lee mentioned the project to Paik, the retired general lent his support.
The mayor of Incheon — the modernized spelling of the area — presented an inscribed stone to Lee during a ceremony last month.
Lee said the rock’s final resting place made all the work and money worthwhile.
“I’m proud of helping my brother-in-law. And they’re proud of that stone in Tampa,” Lee said. “Nov. 11 will be a big day in Tampa.”