Korean War veterans unite to raise money for memorial

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Lowell Holland is raising money to build in Kansas a Korean War Memorial he will never see.

The Big Springs, Texas, native was blinded April 24, 1951, when injured in a mortar attack during a furious battle against Chinese forces at the 38th parallel.

In his battalion, 18 died and 82 were injured that day.

“I feel we need a memorial to the guys who weren’t able to come back,” said Holland, who lives in Topeka.

Nearly half a century after a deal was brokered to halt the Korean War, Holland is joining with Topeka veterans Charles McAtee, Bob Owen, Roland Mayhew and Kent Arnold to raise $40,000 for construction of the Northeast Kansas Korean War Memorial.

So far, $15,000 has been secured for a hexagon-shaped granite-and-bronze memorial. The goal is to dedicate the memorial July 27 in Topeka’s Gage Park.

The event would coincide with the 50th anniversary of the truce ending a war that left 38,000 U.S. soldiers dead.

And it would pay tribute to 203 men from 27 counties in northeast Kansas who were killed in action, died of their wounds or remain missing in action. Names of 28 soldiers from Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties would grace the marker.

From left, Kent Arnold, Lowell Holland, Bob Owen and Chuck McAtee, organizers of the Northeast Kansas Korean War Memorial Assn., plan to install a memorial in Topeka's Gage Park listing the names of the 203 area soldiers who died in the war or who remain listed as missing in action. Arnold holds an artist's rendering of the memorial.

Arnold, who spent 1952 as a U.S. Army forward artillery observer in Korea, said there was a tendency for some people to downplay the Korean War. That is a mistake, he said.

“We don’t like to be referred to as the ‘forgotten war,'” he said. “I don’t like to hear it called a ‘police action.'”

For McAtee, the quest to build a memorial is personal. A friend from Shawnee County, Marine Capt. Leonard Schneider, will have his name chiseled into the memorial.

“We were freshmen in law school together at Washburn,” said McAtee, a platoon leader in the Marines.

He said Schneider was killed when the plane he was flying was shot down in October 1951 while trying to bomb a Korean bridge.

“It was shot down in front of my position,” McAtee said.

Donations of any amount can be made to the Northeast Kansas War Memorial Assn., sent in care of Commerce Bank & Trust Co., 3035 S.W. Topeka Blvd., Topeka 66611.

The Northeast Kansas Korean War Assn. is raising $40,000 to erect a monument in Topeka to the 203 soldiers from 27 counties in this part of the state who were killed during the Korean War.Names of area deceased to be honored:Douglas County — Carl Barlow, John Flora, William Inloes, Gerald Lambert, Lavern Meuffels, Clifford Stalkfleet, Walter Whitman and William Widner.Franklin County — Edward Brandt, Marion Brown, Lloyd Edgar Hughes, Delores Martinez, Larry Seaborn and Donald Webster.Jefferson County — Vernon Frye, Franklin Gant, William Noll and Roy Stockwell.Leavenworth County — Roy Bryant, John Gibson, Ronald Jackson, Dorel King, Peter Lada Jr., Leonard Talley, Delbert Vogeli and Alvin Werbe.