On Sunday, July 30, 2017, Hospice & Palliative CareCenter and Rowan Hospice & Palliative Care and their team of sponsors and volunteers held a special event at the Embassy Suites in Concord to honor Korean War veterans. It was a heartwarming, patriotic, and loving tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed during the Korean War. There were over 100 Korean War veterans in attendance.
These are some of the highlights from this special program.
It was quickly apparent that this was a special event as you drove up – American flags waved from both sides of the driveway. Members of Rolling Thunder formed a walkway to the entrance to greet everyone. A sign proclaimed ‘The war began here – June 25, 1950, at the 38th Parallel.’ Inside there were displays of artifacts and memorabilia throughout the lobby depicting military life during the war.
The program began with the processional of the veterans entering through the Arch of Sabers followed by a group photo. Members of Rolling Thunder presented the Missing Man Table in honor of those missing in action. This visual reminder of those men and women who have never come home was humbling. As the narrator explained, each item on the table has a symbolic purpose – the overturned goblets indicating that the person was not present, the single rose, the red ribbon, and the chairs draped with the MIA flags. As she called out each branch of service, a member marched in carrying the dress cap from that branch and took their place behind a chair. At the conclusion, the table was spotlighted, and the cap was placed at each setting.
Captain Young Chang HA, a retired US Navy Chaplain, shared the story of his family’s escape from North Korea to South Korea. To hear what his family and friends endured firsthand made the importance of what these veterans accomplished much more personal. He acted as an interpreter for the Army as a teenager. He ended his speech by giving thanks to the veterans for saving him and his family, stating that he would not be standing on the stage were it not for veterans like them. It was a special moment indeed.
There were lots of veterans with big red kisses on their heads (and big grins on their faces) once Letters from Home got started singing and dancing for them. Songs from that era, a remembrance of Marilyn Monroe’s visit to the troops, and one brave veteran who ended up in a grass skirt on stage were features.
From beginning to end, this was for and about honoring the men and women who served in what is sometimes known as ‘The Forgotten War.’ They never forgot; war is war. I am the proud daughter of a US Marine who served in Korea. No, we won’t forget. These veterans and all other veterans and those in active service are deserving of our respect and honor. God Bless our service men and women.
Hospice & Palliative CareCenter and Rowan Hospice & Palliative Care are recipients of the highest award by the We Honor Veterans program, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Veterans Administration. “Hospice is proud to honor veterans for so many reasons, and especially honored to help them live the best life possible during their final chapters,” Ann Gauthreaux, Regional Director of Public Relations shared. “The coffees and the special events are a true reflection of the mission – that hospice is not about helping die, but rather, helping people embrace the best possible quality of life no matter what their stage of life.”
For additional information about their services, contact them at 888.876.3663 or visit their website at HospiceCareCenter.org. For more information about the Veteran Coffees and other veteran programs, contact Don Timmons at 336.331.1309 or Don.Timmons@hospicecarecenter.org. The veteran coffees are open to all veterans and are a wonderful opportunity to share a part of your life that no one but another veteran would understand. Join them for the next veteran coffee near you!