Muster honors 'war that shouldn't be forgotten'
by Ellen Corker
Three skydivers formed a patriot demonstration team to open the Coweta Commission on Veterans Affairs' Muster IV, which this year honored veterans of the Korean War.
The event Saturday, complete with commemorations and activities, was held at the Coweta County Fairgrounds south of Newnan.
The parachute jump featured three men exiting about 4,400 feet over the fairgrounds, deploying parachutes and bringing in the Garrison flag for the Muster IV event, the POW/MIA flag representing those still missing from the Korean War, and a large American flag.
Carrying the Garrison flag was CW5 Bill Allen, an Army Special Forces warrant officer who has seen service in Gulf War One, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Allen is currently the command chief warrant officer of the Alabama Army National Guard.
The second jumper was Fireman 3 (Retired) Daniel Presley, U.S. Navy and a veteran of Gulf War One. He carried the POW/ MIA flag.
The third parachute jumper was Gunnery Sergeant (Retired) Jim Holt, U.S. Marine Corps, Force Recon and a veteran of Gulf War One. He brought in a giant American flag that was received on the ground by a delegation of local veterans and JROTC members who then carried the flag from the field area to be displayed for the opening ceremonies during the pledge and singing of the National Anthem by Kathy Farmer and Brooke Parmer.
Leading the prayer and pledge to the flag was local veteran G.D. Hendrix, and also taking part in the ceremonies was Jeff Carroll, commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post 2667.
This year's muster marks the 60th anniversary of the armistice signed to end the Korean War conflict, said Joe Brooks of the CCVA.
Brooks told those gathered on the field that the CCVA was formed five years ago as an educational organization to remember the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served and are serving our nation, as well as those those who have stayed behind. It has been said that one percent of the American population serves in the military, and the other 99 percent are watching. 'Our intent is to educate that 99 percent,' Brooks shared.
been held by the CCVA, one in downtown Newnan, one focusing on World War Two and its veterans, and an emotional muster event honoring those who served during the Vietnam War.
'The support of the community has been absolutely incredible,' Brooks said.
Saturday's muster included Huey and Cobra helicopter rides by the Sky Warriors, departing the fairgrounds field area for a fee for both civilian and military members. There were displays of memorabilia, uniforms, firearms and other items from not only the Korean War but other wars that have involved the United States.
There were also static displays of military equipment and vehicles, sales by authors of military-related books, military service organization representatives, JROTC Drill Team demonstrations, and informational booths from Brewton Parker College, Mercer University, the University of West Georgia and West Georgia Technical College.
Afternoon ceremonies were held honoring Korean War veterans and remembering those killed in action, including three from Coweta County.
Malcolm Jackson of the CCVA noted the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice was July 27, 2013. The Korean War lasted three years, from June 1950 to July 1953. It was the first war that involved the United Nations. Sixteen countries sent troops and 14 countries sent supplies, although most of the support was from the United States.
More than 36,000 U.S. soldiers were killed and more than 103,000 injured. Almost 8,000 Americans are still considered missing in action, thus the display of the POW/ MIA flag at Saturday's ceremonies, Jackson said. North and South Korea had millions of casualties, he said.
Although the armistice was signed ending hostilities, the Korean War technically has never ended, with North Korea and South Korea still at odds today. The U.S. still maintains a peace-keeping force.
The Korean War also was the first to use jet fighters. The armistice created the DMZ - demilitarized zone - which separates the two Koreas and is technically not part of either country.
Korea is often called 'the forgotten war.' The war was sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War, much larger and longer conflicts. While the Korean War was seen by some as a confusing time that many have actually preferred to forget, Jackson said, it was not so for those who served in the military and their families.
Korea is a ' war that shouldn't be forgotten,' Jackson said.