Five Mint Hill men – Alec B. Allen, David E. Hagler, Sandy Douglas Ross, David F. Griffin, and Clifford McLean, Jr. – served their country during the Korean War (1950-1953).
And thanks to the leadership of Indian Trail-based Chapter 265 of the North Carolina Korean War Veterans Association and many monetary and in-kind contributions from around the world, the North Carolina Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated on Nov. 3, 2013, in the town park on NC 218 and I-485. It is a monument to the 788 North Carolinians who were killed or went missing in action during the war and honors those who have served or are serving in South Korea.
The Korean War, which began June 25, 1950, and ended July 27, 1953, is also known as the “forgotten war.” No peace agreement has ever been signed. Thousands of soldiers stationed along the (DMZ) demilitarized zone, including 1,239 Americans, have given their lives in the line of duty since the war ended.
In addition to being a reminder of the “forgotten war,” the memorial is a testament to what communities can accomplish when they work together. The Town of Mint Hill donated the land for the memorial, and several local businesses helped in its construction. R. Kent Goolsby, a Vietnam veteran and Silver Star recipient, assisted in the design. Individuals, businesses, and organizations – including Korean churches and businesses – funded pavers, benches, and other components of the memorial.
The main part of the memorial is encircled with a 188-foot double-wall planter with dwarf hollies. An eternal fountain in the shape of the Korean Taeguek, a part of the South Korean flag, is featured in the center of the memorial. Four eleven-foot granite pillars surrounding the fountain bear the names of the 788 North Carolinians who made the supreme sacrifice for the freedom of South Korea and the United States. Granite benches face each of the four pillars. Two life-sized statues of American soldiers – one dressed in a Class A uniform and the other in a poncho – are also a part of the memorial, which is surrounded by small flowering Japanese Cherry trees. Honor and memory pavers line the Walkway of Honor around the memorial (www.koreanwarmemorialnc.com).
“The Memorial provides a regular draw for thousands of people who come to pay their respect to the veterans of this ‘forgotten war,’” notes Mayor Ted Biggers of Mint Hill.