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Korean War vets remembered in Streator ceremony

News Article mentioning Bernard Majercin in 2017 from Streator Illinois.

Korean War vets remembered in Streator ceremony

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Because the Korean War happened between two higher-profile conflicts, it became known as the "Forgotten War."

But 40 Streator area veterans were told at a ceremony Saturday they were anything but forgotten.

The Korean War took place in the early 1950s — just a few years after World War II and about a decade before major operations began in Vietnam.

At the Streator Moose Lodge, the Streator Stars and Stripes Club hosted a lunch for 40 Korean War veterans from the area. The club acknowledged the community includes more Korean veterans, but the 40 were the ones who signed up for the event.

During a speech, Illinois National Guard Sgt. Steve Gifford said the Korean War was similar to the War on Terror in many ways. They both defended democracy and involved allies.

They also occurred after the military enjoyed big successes, which prompted "feelings of competence in American leadership," said Gifford, who works in the Guard's public affairs office. The Korean War was in the wake of the Allies' victory in World War II, while the War on Terror followed the end of the Cold War and Desert Storm.

"Both conflicts saw American competence tested," he said, adding that neither would have an "easy or quick resolution" and taught the military "hard lessons."

Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, also spoke during the ceremony. He said members of his family were in the military, including his stepfather, Harry H. Long, who served in World War II and Korea as well as during the Vietnam era.

He told the audience the Korean War was "completely unnecessary" because the United States should never have allowed the Soviet Union to control the northern part of the Korean peninsula. Once North Korea invaded the south, he said in an interview later, the U.S. had no choice but to come to the defense of its ally.

Long, who served in the Air Force, fought back his emotions as he described his stepfather's reflections on serving.

"He told me a couple stories. Not many, because he wasn't proud what he had to do," Long said.

When he sees someone in a military uniform, Long said, he buys that person a cup of coffee or at least shakes his or her hand in thanks.

"Veterans are extremely important," he said. "If we can't defend them now, how can we expect them to go overseas and defend us? We should take care of those who fought for this country."

Carrie Hrasch, president of Streator Stars and Stripes, agreed.

"The whole purpose  of Streator Stars and Stripes is you — to show that you are appreciated and not forgotten," she said to veterans.

Last year, the club recognized World War II veterans. In October 2018, it will honor Vietnam veterans. To provide information to the group, email streatorstarsandstripes@gmail.com.

Honored at ceremony

The following Streator area Korean War veterans were honored:

— Don Pouk, 1950-1952, Army
— Richard Cieski, 1951-1956, Army
— Robert Follow, 1951-1953, Army
— Richard Gilchnst, 1953-1955, Army
— Burton Hess, 1950-1954, Air Force
— Gregory Krush, 1952-1954, Army
— Lawrence McGowan, 1950-1952, Army
— Anthony Samolinski, 1952-1954, Army
— Lawrence Wilson, 1951-1955, Navy
— Cliff Overocker, 1952-1960, Navy
— Paul Missel, 1952-1954, Army
— Bernard Bayer, 1951-1955, Army
— Ron Kettman, 1953-1956, Army and Air Force
— David Bagby, 1953-1955, Army
— Daniel Korstick, 1951-1953, Army
— Larry Sorenson, Army
— Bernard Majercin, 1952-1956, Navy
— Fred Barhum, 1952-1955, Army
— Donald Luckey, 1951-1953, Navy
— Arnold Rogers Jr., 1950-1953, Army
— Daniel Local, 1951, Air Force
— Oral Higdon, 1955-1958, Army
— Eugene Hozie, 1952-1954, Army
— Eugene Beckman, 1952-1955, Navy
— Clifford Parker, 1951-1955, Navy
— George Marik Jr., 1952-1955, Army Airborne
— Clarence Creamean, 1952-1955, Navy
— Eldon Burkett, 1950-1953, Navy
— Billy Arnold, 1952-1953, Army
— Albert Meyers, 1950-1953, Navy
— William Boucher, Army
— James Losh, Navy and Army
— William Eurich, 1948-1952, Army
— Richard Berta, Army
— Harold Swartz Sr., 1952-1954, Army
— Gene Bednar, 1953-1954, Navy
— George Leskanich Jr., Army
— Carl Quick, Army
— Ron Losey, Army National Guard
— Robert Helander, 1950-1953, Army

Note: This list was not comprehensive. The veterans listed are those who signed up to take part in the ceremony.
Source: Streator Stars and Strips Club

Owner/SourceL. Majercin / Streator Times Press News
Date1 Oct 2017
Linked toB.S. Majercin

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