KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL BACKGROUND
The Korean War Memorial of Central Mass., Inc. was originally incorporated in 1997 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and then reorganized in 2001 as a 501 (c)(3) organization. It's purpose is to "design, construct and maintain a suitable memorial within the City of Worcester, Massachusetts to those who served in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Korean War and to solicit donations from the public for those purposes."
Officially sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Defense as a "commemorative community," the Memorial organization pledged a three-year effort, from 2000 to 2003, to develop events and activities to remember the dedicated men and women who served in Korea and to honor their families. More than 3,000 people attended four major events sponsored by the Memorial organization: A Veterans Tribute to Our Korean War Veterans on April 30, 2000, The Korean War Forum and the Salute to Our Korean War Veterans on September 17, 2000, and A Special Tribute to Korean War Veterans on November 4, 2001.
The Memorial corporation's Board of Directors has raised funds by soliciting the purchase of bricks that will be placed at the Memorial, by seeking corporate and individual donations, and by receipt of a $100,000 appropriation from the State Legislature. The City of Worcester has generously donated the site for the Memorial and has been requested to provide a number of in-kind services.
The $100,000 received from the State Legislature was appropriated in fiscal year 2002, and, therefore, had to be utilized by the end of June 2002. The appropriation funded the $96,700 purchase of granite for the Memorial and legal services to review the State contract.
After the Memorial is constructed, the organization will only be responsible for maintenance of the site.
DESCRIPTION OF THE MEMORIAL PROJECT
The site of the Memorial is currently an underutilized, aesthetically unappealing paved parking lot, located across from the Common Outlet garage on Worcester Center Boulevard. The entire site will be excavated; asphalt will be removed; gravel and fill will be appropriately utilized; appropriate drainage will be created; and the site will be landscaped to create a public space of eye-catching interest that will contribute to the overall beautification of the City and will be a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by Central Massachusetts Korean War veterans and their families.
The Memorial will be constructed based on a design created by Worcester native Harvey Ball, originator of the Smiley face. A five-sided granite base, honoring all branches of the service, will support a central flag pole and be grounded and surrounded by a brick "Walkway of Honor." Each side of the pentagonal base is five feet in length and will support a flag pole of 31 feet in height (including the base).
Two polished black granite stones, each six feet in height, with a total length of 11 feet will be inscribed in gold letters with the well-known phrase often used in relation to the Korean War, "Freedom is Not Free." The larger stone will list the 191 service men and women, who made the supreme sacrifice in the Korean War. The smaller stone will be inscribed with a map of Korea that depicts some of the War's key geographic locations. Five service flags will surround the Memorial, and the U.S. Flag and the Korean War Flag will be located at the entrance to the Walkway. A stone wall will be constructed on site to create architectural interest. The brick walkway will include inscribed bricks and pavers, honoring veterans and community members.
Ten granite benches will be placed along the walkway. A parking lot will provide easy access, especially for disabled veterans.
The location of the Memorial also has historic emotional importance for Korean War veterans. As most of the Central Massachusetts soldiers departed for the War and returned home from Union Station, the veterans particularly requested a site in the area of the Station.
Tastefully set in a peaceful green space that will encourage reflection, the Memorial site will enhance the surrounding area of the City. The Memorial site will also be educational as a brief history of the War and the Memorial and a history of the Blackstone Canal, which is under the Memorial site, will be part of the site development.
On September 23, 2002, the Memorial's Board of Directors held a Groundbreaking Ceremony on the site, which was attended by over 300 people, including State and City officials as well as veterans and their families. The Board of Directors has tentatively set the date of September 21, 2003, for the Dedication Ceremony. The date was chosen because 2003 is the year that the Armistice, ending the War, was signed, and September 21 was the date of the Battle of Inchon, one of the key turning points of the War.
To meet that deadline date, the Board expects to start construction as soon as weather allows. To reduce the budget and complete construction, the Board has actively initiated a program to seek in-kind services from the City and from local contractors that will significantly reduce the overall costs and will allow the Board to pay all bills associated with the building of the site by the Dedication date.
In the future, the Board of Directors also plans to solicit funds for the purchase of a figure of a Marine holding the hand of a Korean child, which can be added to the site at any time. Its placement is included in the site plan.
The general contractor managing the project is R.L. Whipple Company. The architect is Michael Pagano of Lamourex Pagano Associates, Inc.
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