First, I would commend Sheryl Stolberg for her fine coverage of the International Korean War Memorial and the efforts of the veterans of the Korean War to find their place in the sun (Metro, April 28). As the current president of the Chosin Few, I have been in on all the planning and preparation of the IKWM from its inception. The Chosin Few is a last man organization made up of British, Korean and American armed forces who shared one experience in November and December of 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. We are the sponsoring group of the monument, but there are now many, many more who want what we want.
Our committee appeared before the Cultural Affairs Commission in November of 1986 and was given the go ahead to commence planning and preparation to erect the International Korean War Memorial on the site at Angels Gate Park. Many things have happened from that time until now. The Korean War veteran now wants the record set straight, closing that gap between the Iwo Jima Monument and the Vietnam Wall.
San Pedro is steeped in military history and to say the site is inappropriate for this monument is to say the coastal defense batteries on that same site don’t exist. To say that the 22 nations’ flags that will fly at the site will “make it look like a used car lot” is to be small and mean. To say that a few “againsters” can dictate policy and convince present commission members to renege on a promise made by the mayor and their predecessors sounds as though they forgot who they work for.
The veteran knows what it takes to win in battle and the cost of battle. This monument is the last battle for the Chosin Few and our friends. “Retreat hell” is our motto and we stand with Mayor Tom Bradley and the majority of San Pedro citizens. We all want to see a world-class monument on the West Coast--a place in the sun for all Korean War veterans.
One question to the commission: Why does the veteran have to fight a battle for recognition at home?
President, Chosin Few