Korean War Vets Take Center Stage This Weekend
Korean War veterans will take center stage this weekend all over Maine. Saturday, ceremonies will be held across the state to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending the Korean War.Thursday, in front of a room full of Korean War veterans, Governor LePage signed a proclamation making this Saturday “Maine Korean War Veteran Recognition Day.”"We simply can’t do enough for our military,” LePage told the packed Cabinet Room next to his office. “If we go back to World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the middle east. I mean so many people have sacrificed. And not just the military but military families and children.”The events on Saturday will pay tribute to those veterans, including one at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor. Those on-hand Thursday are urging all veterans to come out and be recognized for their service.”You served two wars,” said Senator Jim Hamper from Oxford County, addressing a veteran in the room. “Do people know what you did? You know, seriously don’t let those stories go away. You are the living history.”Phil Eckert of Orrington is one of those veterans. A sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he served in Korea for one year before the war ended.”I have a little joke about why the North Koreans and the Chinese signed the treaty,” he said. “They heard I joined the Marine Corps and said ‘might as well give up now’.”Eckert says he’ll be in Bangor Saturday morning for the ceremony. He thinks these types of remembrances are starting to change the way the public views veterans.”Years past, you wore your hat down the street and nobody seemed to notice. But the last 2 or 3 years, little 3,4,5 year old kids and teenagers come up and shake my hand and say thank you for your service. And I say thank you for saying that.”Saturday’s event is set for 10 a.m. at the official State of Maine Korean War Memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery.