Forty years after the Korean conflict ended, seven Carroll County men who lost their lives during that war will be memorialized in Westminster.
"It's long, long overdue," said Mayor W. Benjamin Brown. "My whole sense of wanting to be a part of this is that it's the least we can do to remember anyone who serves their country, particularly during war. Remembering those who gave their lives is an absolute must."
Unlike Carroll countians killed during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, the local men who died during the Korean conflict have not been memorialized -- at least by name. A stone pays tribute to the men collectively in the Veteran's Memorial Garden behind City Hall.
Mayor Brown credited U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's Westminster office with tracking down the names of the seven men: Pfc. Charles A. Chew; Pfc. Louis A. Damewood; Pvt. William H. Dotson; Sgt. Leslie L. Fairchild; Pfc. Charles E. Garver; Pfc. Harold E. Lugenbeel; Sgt. Virgil L. Stambaugh.
Scott Friedrich, a student intern in Mr. Bartlett's office, found the names through the national Korean War Veterans Advisory Board, which is planning a Korean War Veterans Memorial. The monument will be built in Washington and will be similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
"He contacted the group and within 15 minutes they had a list," said Nancy R. Stocksdale, who works in Mr. Bartlett's Westminster office. "He called on Thursday and the list came on Monday. That's how fast we got it." Ms. Stocksdale said Mr. Brown's request was turned over to Mr. Friedrich, a sophomore political science major at Western Maryland College, because he is the office's intern and is earning college credit performing various duties there.
"He was very successful," she said. "The mayor was very, very grateful."
Mayor Brown and Edward Howard, commander of American Legion Post 31 in Westminster, began searching for the names after the city dedicated a Vietnam memorial in 1990. Mayor Brown said he learned then that the county had not honored its fallen Korean veterans by name.
None of the county's veterans groups could recall the names of the Korean conflict dead.
Besides writing Mr. Bartlett, who represents the 6th District -- which includes Carroll -- Mayor Brown contacted the offices of Maryland's U.S. senators. Mr. Bartlett's office came through with the names before the other senators even acknowledged the mayor's letter, Mr. Brown said.
A committee with representatives from veterans groups will be formed to determine what kind of memorial should be built, the mayor said. He said the ideal location would be the Veteran's Memorial Garden behind City Hall.
Commander Howard could not be reached for comment Friday.
"I think the city would do everything possible to see that through," Mr. Brown said.
Mr. Bartlett's office said the plaque in the city's Veteran's Memorial Garden is the only memorial to Korean veterans in the state.
Mayor Brown said he expected veterans groups, city and county government and monument companies to finance the memorial. He is hopeful a memorial can be erected by Veterans Day.
"For any veterans who served in the Korean War, I would like to apologize for this taking so long."