WATERLOO — Not only did veterans of the Korean War never receive a homecoming, some 124 Iowans who served in that war never came home.
Their remains were never returned.
The Grout Museum District, hosting a year-long Korean War exhibit, plans to honor their memories as part of its annual POW-MIA observance at the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum at 1 p.m. Friday, which is National POW-MIA Recognition Day.
The museum district is anticipating a large turnout of representatives from all over the state from the home communities or counties of the missing.
The event is similar to one held two years ago for 25 Iowans who were missing in action from the Vietnam War. “But this list is a lot larger,” noted Chris Shackelford, the Grout district historic content developer. “It’s 124 individuals representing upwards of 68 counties across the state with remains unreturned from the Korean War.”Representatives from home communities or home counties of the missing are being invited to attend. Names of the missing will be read and representatives will be presented with certificates honoring them.
“We’re trying to pull together people from around the state in solidarity to make sure these people are not forgotten,” Shackelford said.
The larger numbers of missing, compared to Vietnam, may be due to the fact that during the Korean War, “a lot of territory was given up and never retaken by the United Nations,” particularly when Chinese Communist forces entered the war in late 1950, overrunning U.N. positions. Consequently many remains were never recovered. That includes many prisoners of war who died in captivity as well some killed in action, Shackelford said.
Two from Waterloo are among the missing: Alfred Martin, who was a prisoner of war, and Richard McKinstry, who was killed in action.
Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart will speak.
The Grout’s exhibit, “The Cold War Ablaze: Iowans in the Korean War,” which opened in July and will run through next July, will be available for public viewing.
For more information, call 234-6357 or go to gmdistrict.org.
A separate annual vigil honoring Vietnam missing and killed will be Sep. 29-Oct. 1 at the Black Hawk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Paramount Park, outside the Courier building at 100 E. Fourth St.