July 26, 2012 10:05:18 AM
On Friday, veterans of the Korean War will be honored in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Korean War Commemoration Committee and Department of Defense. The "Heroes Remembered" event marks the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice.
On Wednesday, the Commemoration Committee launched "The Year of the Korean War Veteran," paying tribute to those who fought in the conflict that lasted from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953.
As part of recognizing those soldiers, the Department of Defense will issue a certificate of appreciation to honor any veteran who served in the Armed Forces between those dates. Service does not have to be in-country.
Ed Kuykendall of Columbus was one of many who left their homes in 1950 to answer the call.
"Four of us went into the Marine Corps and left Columbus together, on a bus to Jackson," he recalled Wednesday. Kuykendall would go on to serve 22 years with the Marines.
"I'm sure there are many people out there that appreciate it," he said of the commemoration and certificates.
Friday's ceremony will begin with the laying of a wreath at 9 a.m. at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with keynote remarks by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
The stated objectives of the Commemoration Committee are remembrance and legacy, gratitude and honor, and harmony and cooperation. Goals are to help post-war generations build a correct vision of nationalism and national security, to convey thanks to veterans at home and abroad, and to provide a venue for further collaboration and mutual understanding of peace.
To register for an official Department of Defense certificate for a veteran, go to the Korean War 60th Anniversary website at koreanwar.defense.gov. Or send the veteran's name, branch of service, and return mailing address to Korean War 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, 2530 Crystal Drive, Suite 1400, Arlington, VA 22202.