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N.C. Korean War memorial nears completion

By Melinda Johnston
Correspondent

North Carolina’s first Korean War Veterans Memorial is about to be completed, thanks to the town of Mint Hill.

Commissioners recently approved up to $70,000 from the town’s tourism fund to complete the memorial, in Mint Hill Park on Fairview (N.C. 218 just off Interstate 485).

The project is spearheaded by Chapter 265 of the N.C. Korean War Veteran’s Association, which has its headquarters in Mint Hill and whose membership includes Korean War and Korean service veterans, as well as friends and families of those who served and continue to serve in the region.

The memorial will honor the 788 North Carolinians killed or missing in action during the Korean War (1950-1953) as well as all Korean War veterans who served in defense of South Korea.

Over the past few years, organizers have raised almost $550,000 through various fundraisers, paver sales, donations – including $56,000 from South Korea – and no-interest loans. Organizers also received more than $210,000 in donated services, labor and materials.

It is estimated it will take about $52,000 to complete the granite installation, add lights and finish the landscaping.

The memorial will feature a fountain, replicating the Republic of Korea flag, surrounded by four 11-foot-tall black granite pylons bearing the names of the 788 North Carolinians lost during the Korean War. Two 1.5-ton granite soldiers, one in dress uniform and the other in a poncho, will stand guard on the perimeter.

Work is underway to finish the memorial, and Mint Hill plans a dedication ceremony after its annual Veterans Day Breakfast on Nov. 9.

Granite pavers, ranging in price from $200-$1,000, still are available to honor a veteran of any war.

To order a paver, call Capt. Don Putnam at 704-496-4709 or Col. Billy Reid at 704-302-5268, or email Reid at billr@jacksonpark.org.

For more information, visit www.koreanwarmemorialnc.com.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.
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