Vets honor the fallen at Penn's Landing

May 25, 2009 3:38:14 PM PDT
Despite the barbecues and trips to the shore, the focus of the Memorial Day holiday is those who lost their lives defending our freedom.At the Vietnam Memorial at Penn's Landing, all eyes were on the 646 names cut into the stone. Those who never came back were remembered by those who did, and loved ones.

"God bless those the 646 men and women on this wall. God bless the United States of America," said Col. Joseph Cox, retired from the United States Army.

Next door at the Korean War memorial, both an older and a younger generation were remembered. Along with memories of those who fell in Korea back in the 1950s, vets also chose to honor those who have fallen more recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The widow of Lance Corporal John Byrd showed her son the name of his father, as the mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a vocal critic of the Iraq War, blinked back tears.

"I feel honored that they took space and actually gave us something to have here," said Jessica Byrd.

Korea vet Roscoe Campbell touched the name of Carl Ragin. They grew up watching John Wayne movies, and Ragin was the first to go to Korea.

"He finally wrote 'You don't want to come over here. It's a lot different from the movies," Campbell said. But, he did go. As he got off the transport he went looking for his friend, and was told he just went up north.

"Missed him by two days, and I never saw him again," Campbell said. Ragin has been listed as missing in action since February, 1951.

Korea is sometimes called "the forgotten war," so on the fourth Friday of every month, vets gather at the Korean War Memorial to pray for those who have fallen..

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