Richland County honored local Korean War-era veterans at an event Wednesday to recognize their service and commemorate the end of the conflict 60 years ago.
Veterans of the so-called “Forgotten War” gathered at the Township Auditorium for the “Heroes Remembered, Service Honored” program. The event was an opportunity for Richland County to publicly honor local veterans who missed a statewide ceremony this summer.
More than 100 people attended the program held by the Richland County Government and Richland County Veterans Affairs Office. Men, some of them wearing military decorations, were presented with Korean War service medals and certificates from the Department of Defense.
Kelvin Washington Sr., chair of the Richland County Council, served as master of ceremonies and Councilman Paul Livingston read a proclamation in honor of the veterans. Other councilmembers in attendance were Jim Manning, Julie-Ann Dixon and Torrey Rush. They, along with County Administrator Tony McDonald and guest speakers, assisted James Brown, director of the Richland County Veterans Affairs Office, in presenting the medals and certificates to veterans who were called by name to come forward to receive their honors.
Col. Mark Bieger, Commander of the 171st Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, was the keynote speaker and emphasized the Korean War veterans’ example of duty, courage and hope. Dr. InSook Lee, a native of Korean who was injured as a young girl during the war, told the men their service and sacrifice made her life possible.
Students from Lower Richland High School performed and several native Koreans who survived the war attended to show appreciation. The program also featured Dr. Mike Langston, Professor of Chaplain Ministries at Columbia International University, Howard Metcalf, director of the state’s Office of Veterans Affairs and State Rep. Joseph Neal, chair of the Richland County Legislative Delegation.