Monument Set For Approval - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/14/04-Smith County

Monument Set For Approval

It's sometimes called the "Forgotten War".

For three years in the early 1950s, American military forces fought in the Korean War.  Sandwiched between World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War sometimes gets lost in American history. However, one group of local veterans is hoping to change that.

For Bob Burnette, it's a cause that's close to his heart. A Navy veteran, Burnette served in the Korean War during 1950 and 1951.  Now, some 50 years later, he wants to ensure that service is remembered.

"There are 15,000 veterans dying each year in the U.S., so one of these days there is not going to be anything to show what we did," he said.

Across the country there are hundreds of monuments and statues commemorating those who fought in the Korea War.  Bob and other members of the East Texas Korean War Veterans Chapter noticed this area was lacking one of its own.

Beginning in July, they began a push to get one on the square in Downtown Tyler. They soon learned that process would be time consuming.

"You have to go through the (Commissoners Court) if you want to do anything to that area, the courthouse or anything else.. so we just had to go through them."

Drawings in hand, the group presented their ideas to Smith County Commissioners.  They also contacted former Tyler mayor and State Senator Kevin Eltife who helped move the process along. Months into the process, they learned their hope for a permanent monument could become reality.

"It's just something that's for the living and the dead and the missing and wounded. It's just something we need to do."

A granite statue, standing strong for generations to come.

Smith County Commissioners are expected to formally approve the monument in a meeting Monday. With that approval, the statue could be in place by early Spring

Chris Gibson, reporting

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