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VIDEO: Gratitude shown to Fort Wayne-area Korean War veterans for their service

Hannah Y. Kim speaks during a memorial ceremony today at the Korean War Memorial at Concordia Cemetery Gardens on Lake Avenue. Kim, a South Korea native, is traveling to all 50 U.S. states to thank U.S. veterans for their service in the war and to create more awareness about the war. To her right is Cletus Rumshlag, secretary and treasurer of the local Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 1, who served as host for the memorial ceremony. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Korean War veterans in their white shirt and hats listen during a ceremony today at the Korean War Memorial in Concordia Cemetery Gardens on Lake Avenue. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Hannah Y. Kim places a memorial pin on the shirt of Bernard Wisniewski before giving him a kiss and hug. Kim is touring all 50 U.S. states to thank Korean War veterans for their service and to create more awareness about the "Forgotten War." (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Bud Mendenhall, at the podium, a member of local Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 1, reads information about the history of the association and Korean War monuments in Fort Wayne. He shared the history at a memorial event held this morning at the Korean War Memorial in Concordia Cemetery Gardens on Lake Avenue. Standing with Mendenhall are, from left, Marian Wisniewski, whose husband, Bernard, wrote the history; association Secretary and Treasurer Cletus Rumschlag; and Mendenhall's wife, Jean.
Hannah Y. Kim passed out white chrysanthemum flowers and invited people to lay them at the base of memorial walls remembering local residents who served in the Korean and other wars. The remembrance took place at a ceremony today at the Korean War Memorial in Concordia Cemetery Gardens on Lake Avenue. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

With local Korean War veterans standing in a row, Hannah Y. Kim knelt before them and expressed her gratitude for their service 65 or more years ago.

The gesture brought tears to his eyes, Cletus Rumschlag told the crowd when he returned to the microphone as host of the memorial ceremony this morning at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Concordia Cemetery Gardens on Lake Avenue. Rumshlag is secretary and treasurer of the local Korean War Veterans Association, Chapter 1.

Kim, a South Korean native whose family immigrated to the United States when she was age 6, stopped in Fort Wayne as part of her effort to visit all 50 U.S. states to thank Korean veterans for their service.

She also hopes to create more awareness about the war and the effort to build a Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

About 50 people turned out for the local ceremony, most of whom were Korean War veterans or their wives or widows.

A few members of the local Korean community also attended.

Kim said she and her family may not be here today if U.S. troops had not fought against North Korea after it invaded the South on June 25, 1950. Fighting continued into 1953.

American military personnel had to go too far to fight, “and too many didn’t come back,” Kim said.

Nearly 36,575 Americans died during their Korean War service, more than 100,000 were wounded and nearly 8,000 remain missing, it said on the website of Remember727, a nonprofit Kim founded that seeks to honor Korean War veterans and to create greater awareness about the war and their service.

After speaking, Kim invited all of the servicemen to come forward so she could give them a special pin, a kiss on the cheek and a hug. She also praised the work of their wives and presented pins to widows of those who had died in recent years.

Later, she passed out white chrysanthemum flowers and invited people to lay them at the base of the memorial’s lists of local men and women who served in the Korean War and other wars.

“This is great,” Korean War veteran Bernard Wisniewski said afterward. “This is the day the war started. The young lady from Washington did a great job.”

“This was excellent,” veteran Walter Scare said, adding it was a good reminder of his service from 1951 to 1952.

“It was nice that the young lady could come and speak to them,” Scare’s wife, Wanda, added.

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