Clark County Press (Neillsville, WI)

August 2, 2006 Front page

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.


Not to be forgotten


Groundbreaking for a tribute to Korean War veterans brings, at long last, recognition to the men who served more than 50 years ago.



It was a memorable day for those men of the so-called ?Forgotten War.?

On July 27th, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the Korean War 53 years ago, there was a fulfilling sense of recognition at The Highground as ground was broken for the future memorial in tribute to their sacrifice and service.


For the veterans of the Korean War coming to The Highground, this was their day.  Well into their 70s, they stood tall and proud at the ringing of The Highground?s Liberty Bell and the singing of the National Anthem that opened the groundbreaking ceremony.  They remained unflinching at the sharp crack of rifles in the 21-gun salute that followed.  And, throughout the program, that included speakers and the introductions of distinguished guests, they faced up to the stifling heat and humidity of the day.



When it came to weather extremes, some of them had been through much worse.  And that is what he tried to capture in designing the central figures? in the future memorial, said Michael Martino, who created the statues of the America GIs that would be the focal point of the Korean War tribute.  ?I tried to imagine those conditions,? Martino said of the extreme heat and cold the men often had to endure.


As he spoke, the La Crosse sculptor stood beside one of the three bronze figures, a soldier bundled up against the cold and loneliness of guard duty that will be placed on the memorial site that includes an outline of the Korean peninsula.  The statue is simply called ?Cold? according to Martino.


?Anguish? the other sculpture at The Highground that day, presents two soldiers, with haunting eyes staring ahead, as they struggle to support one another in combat.


Korean Veterans Tribute Committee member Norman Poppe lent his own words to the ceremony as he remembered his brothers in arms and the sacrifice of those who suffered and died.  ?Freedom is not free,? he said grimly. ?This is the day we?ve been waiting for,? Poppe went on to tell those gathered at the future site, including his fellow Korean War veterans.  ?We?re all very happy,? he said. 

Kirk Rodman, volunteer general manager at The Highground and himself a veteran of the Korean War-era said that the project and the funds needed to complete it remains a cherished goal.  ?We?re between the dream and the reality,? he said.  The tribute, with a projected cost of $170,000, is still about $32,000 short of achieving its fundraising goal, he said. 


Some of the major donors were acknowledged in the printed program, while others were introduced to the applause of the crowd.  They included L. E. Phillips Foundation, of Eau Claire; the Krause Foundation, of Iola, WI; Wuethrich Foundation, of Greenwood; the Listeman Foundation, of Neillsville; Dale and Marjorie Short, of Neillsville and Gerald and Donna Kuehn, of Granton.


The tribute is expected to be completed sometime in 2007.



But, last Thursday, the symbolic groundbreaking, with bright golden shovels, was itself a fulfilling moment.  Later, some of the Korean War veterans honored at The Highground shared their thoughts.


?We have that label of being the ?Forgotten War.?  Now, for all, there will be a reminder,? said Bob Berglund, of Loyal.


Melvin Dux, of Neillsville, said it was not about enjoying any individual glory. ?It?s that each of us gave two, three or four years of our lives and finally being recognized for it,? he said.



Banner Journal, Black River Falls, (Jackson Co.) WI

July 18, 2007, Page 10

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.



Korean Tribute unveiling July 28, 2007


?The Forgotten? will be present and accounted for as the recently completed Korean Tribute is formally dedicated Saturday July 28, 2007, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park.  The pork is located west of Neillsville on USH 10.


Beyond the unveiling of the tribute, the program includes a flyover, the addition of earth from Korea to the tribute, songs presented by the Rhythm of the River Chorus, echo taps and an amazing amount of color provide(d) by numerous color guards from all over the state.


Guest speakers will include Korean veteran Ben Anderson; Gary Weirauch, past commander of the Loyal American Legion; and Michael Martino, whose vision became the Korean Tribute. 


Ben Anderson, a member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign War, calls himself luck and wants people to remember the men who did not come home.


?I came out of it with malaria so I was lucky,? said Anderson, ?The real heroes are still there.  They never made it home.?


Anderson was the first person to purchase a Korean Honor Stone.  He said he bought a stone ?Because I was in Korea, and I want my kids to see something their dad did.?


Gary Weirauch served in the Army between 1968 and 1970 and was stationed in Germany.  His active support made possible several significant contributions to the Korean Tribute and The Highground.


Contributions made this project possible and covered the cost of $190,000, said Kirk Rodman, Highground volunteer general manager.  ?Our first cost estimate was $170,000, but changes during construction raised that to $190,000, commented Rodman.


Committee members were not surprised that the earlier prediction proved low but did not think the increase would be impossible to meet.


?After you have raised $170,000, an additional $20,000 doesn?t seem bad,? said Bob Bertz, one of the original members on the committee.




Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

July 25, 2007, Front Page

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.


?Day of recognition? set for Saturday


Highground tribute to Korean War vets to be dedicated at 10 a.m.


The Highground Veterans Memorial Park west of Neillsville was quiet this past Monday, the anticipation of the dedication this Saturday of the Tribute to Korean War Veterans very much in the air.


?It?s 99% complete,? Kirk Rodman, volunteer general manager of the Highground said of the memorial that includes the figures of three American soldiers, a replica of the Korean Peninsula and symbolic rice paddies.


Rodman said that much credit has to be given to the Korean Tribute committee which has been meeting for the past four years.  The 20-member group held its final meeting last Thursday.  ?They did a really good job of planning and putting together the dedication,? said Rodman.


Much of the $190,000 memorial project was dependent on the fundraising effort, Rodman pointed out, proudly saying that, as of Monday, they were just a few hundred dollars short of having the project cost covered.  He was confident it would all be in place on dedication day, said Rodman.


The Highground is anticipating well over 1,000 visitors on Saturday morning, July 28th, at 10 a.m.


?People will be coming here from all over the state, and the Upper Midwest,? said Rodman. Between 12 and 15 color guard units from American Legion and VFW posts from all over Wisconsin are also expected to be here, he said.


Once the ceremony begins, there will be an official unveiling of the memorial. Speakers will reflect on the occasion and there is to be a reading of the ?directional stones? surrounding the memorial that tell the story of the Korean War.


People will see what the committee, most of whom are Korean War veterans, wanted to express about what is often called the ?Forgotten War,? according to Rodman.


?It?s going to be a day of recognition,? he said.


But it won?t end there, he added.


?This will bring people here for years and years,? Rodman said.


Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

July 25, 2007, Page 2



Head of Korean War veterans group visits hometown, Highground


 Charlotte Ayers


Charlotte Ayers, of Beaufort, SC, and a 1952 graduate of Neillsville High School, was elected Director of the national Korean War Veterans Association in June 2007 for a three-year term.  As Director, she will be an officer on the Board which is responsible for establishing the policies, supervising and maintaining control and management of the property, finances and affairs of the Association.


Ayers enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and was stationed at Parris Island, SC and Camp Lejeune, NC during the period of the Korean War.  She served at several other bases prior to her retirement from the military.  She retired from Civil Service in January 1998.


After joining the Korean War Veterans Association (KWVA), she founded the Palmetto Chapter of KWVA in Beaufort, and was its first Commander. Ayers is also a Trustee for the South Carolina Department of KWVA and on the Bylaws Committee.  She volunteers with local organizations including the Red Cross Community Emergency Response Teams, and is a member of the American Legion Post and the USO welcoming servicemen and women back from overseas and seeing them off on deployment. 


In June, Ayers, along with a daughter, Elaine, of Charleston, SC, visited her sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Bob Bertz, of Loyal, and her brother Don Ayers, of Neillsville.  During this visit, Joan, Don and Charlotte honored their parents, the late Claude and Florence Ayers, of Neillsville, by placing Legacy Stones in their names at The Highground.


Banner Journal, Black River Falls, Jackson Co., WI

July 25, 2007, Page 4

Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.


Volunteers and contributors are the heart of The Highground


The Highground staff has been receiving calls from every corner of Wisconsin asking about the upcoming Korean Tribute dedication ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 28.  Between 800 to 1,000 people are expected to attend.  Most of those, said one staff member, are the donors and volunteers who participated in bringing this tribute to the park.


The 140-acre park (west of Neillsville on USH 10) offers visitors an outstanding scenic view of over 500,000 acres, 10 tributes and four miles of walking trails through 40 acres of developmental forest. A number of programs geared for veterans, children and families help the park meet its goals of healing and educating the human cost of war.  Donations and volunteers make all these things possible. The park receives no ongoing state or federal support.


Everyone is welcome, and brining your own lawn chairs is encouraged for those attending the July 28 ceremony.  A picnic lunch will be served on the Pow Wow Grounds following the ceremony.


For more information about the ceremony, the Korean Tribute or the park, call 715-0743-42 24 or visit






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