DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - The forgotten war is being remembered Saturday, October 1, 2011, in DeSoto County. A ceremony will honor more than 150 Korean War veterans from the Mid-South. Organizers want veterans to know 61 years later, the sacrifices they made are appreciated.
"These are our fathers," said county supervisor Bill Russell. "If we hadn't fought in Korea, you can only speculate what would have happened with communism. It's terribly important we remember and celebrate our heros and patriots."
Heros like Hernando's Lewis Burt, a navy veteran who served on an aircraft carrier for two years of the Korean War.
"I graduated Thursday night and joined the navy Friday morning," Burt told abc24.com.
On Saturday, October 1, 2011, hundreds will pack the county's courthouse lawn to show their gratitude for the sacrifices thousands of veterans like Burt have made.
"I'll be here sitting with these old guys," said Burt. "I'll do a little remembering and thank God I wasn't in the trenches with them."
A 19-year-old electrician mate third class on the USS Valley Forge, Burt was one of the ones making sure the ship made it to Korea. He doesn't consider the war a victory, but he told abc24.com it was won in the number of lives American soldiers helped save.
"We were the only carrier there. If it hadn't been for our carrier, I don't think half of the South Koreans would be here today. I've got a friend coming from Atlanta, Georgia. She's half Korean, and she's driving in with her seven kids to be here tomorrow. That makes it worthwhile," said Burt.
In addition to the ceremony, the county's collecting photographs, uniforms and memorabilia, wanting to preserve the stories of all local veterans before they're lost.
"A lot of them are getting to that age where they're passing away, and a lot of those stories and those items are being lost," said Brian Hicks, executive director of the DeSoto County Museum. "When folks see these, it shows they're valuable and the story behind them even more so."
"I'm never sorry I served," Burt told abc24.com. "I never thought I'd live this long either. Soon I'll be 81 years old, so i'm one of the last ones I guess."