Veterans remember Korea
By ADRIAN MILLER
IT IS more than 50 years since the outbreak of the Korean War, but for the veterans who will gather in Grafton next weekend, the memory of the conflict is still fresh in their minds.
The Grafton Memorial Weekend of the 55th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War will be held on June 25-26, and veterans from as far away as Townsville and Western Australia will be present to pay homage to their fallen comrades.
Korean War veteran and Grafton RSL member John Fitzpatrick said the weekend would be about more than just honouring the lives of their fallen friends.
He said a feature of the weekend would be a meeting of veterans that would aim to establish a nationwide body for Korean veterans.
"Korean veterans, because the majority were professional servicemen, or exAustralian Infantry Force, carried on with their service life after Korea ... so they've never had the time, nor been in single localities, to create a national Korean organisation," he said.
"Next week at the GDSC we hope that will change."
Mr Fitzpatrick said a main attraction of the festivities would be the presentation of the Korean War Honour Roll Quilt, which records the names of the 340 Australian servicemen who died in the war. He said the quilt, made from Korean thread and fabric and inspired by Korean design techniques, was the idea of Olwyn Green, originally from Ulmarra, whose husband, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Green DSO, was the highest ranking officer killed in the war.
"The quilt represents a cenotaph in cloth and it will stay here until there is a place for it in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra," he said.
Mr Fitzpatrick said the weekend was special because many people overlooked the Korean War when talking about Australia's military history.
"It means a lot to us in the fact that Korea is the forgotten war because it was so soon after the Second World War," he said.
"It took until 2000 to get our war memorial in Canberra and at the moment, including our own in Grafton, we are only about one in six that is a completely dedicated Korean memorial."