Free book offered to Korean War veterans commemorating service, postwar growth

04/19/2014 9:21 PM

04/19/2014 9:26 PM

Beaufort County's Veterans Affairs office and an organization for Korean War veterans are trying to track down local vets who served in Korea to give them a free book as a gift for their service, according to the group's commander.

The book, "Korea Reborn: A Grateful Nation," is a retrospective of the war and a look at 60 years of postwar growth in South Korea. Published in July 2013 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, the book is free to veterans who served during the war, Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 303 commander Charlotte Ayers said.

"The people of South Korea are so appreciative of what our veterans did for them," she said. "The book was published so each Korean War veteran could see what they fought for. The country has gone above and beyond to thank them."

The book features a dedication from South Korean president Park Geun-hye, along with hundreds of photos, from the war up to the present day. Information about Revisit South Korea, a program that seeks to bring veterans back to South Korea to see the country's transformation, is also included in the book.

Printing and distribution of the book in the United States was paid for by South Korea. However, only a handful of copies have been distributed locally.

Ayers -- who served at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina during the war -- has given out about 70 copies of the book. In November, she made the 400-mile round trip to the Union County Veterans Affairs office, where the allotment of books for South Carolina are stored.

The 70 books covered the members of her local chapter and a handful of other veterans that were found, but she hopes to reach more. Ayers said no exact count of Korean War veterans in Beaufort County is available.

More books are expected to be available next week, when the local Veterans Affairs officer makes the trek up to Union, Ayers said.

The book is also offered to the families of service members who died in the Korean War, Ayers said. However, if extra copies are available, Ayers hopes to distribute them to the families of deceased Korean War veterans and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs around the county.

"I want to see to it that they get a copy of the book, so they can use it when they teach the historical conflicts," she said.

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