'The Forgotten War' to be remembered at parade
BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Jan. 30, 2014 at 4 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2014 at 7:31 p.m.
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: We Remember Korean War veterans parade
• WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday
• WHERE: DeLeon Plaza, 101 N. Main Street (parade runs down Main Street)
• INFO: Visit warriorsweekend.org for more information on this parade, and any other veterans parades planned.
At 78 years old, there is a lot Israel Tames has forgotten, but the Korean War has never been - and will never be - one of those.
Walking over the bodies of fallen enemies and comrades alike is a painful flashback, but at Saturday's Korean War Veterans parade, Tames expects closure some 60 years later.
"For those two hours of glory, someone will be paying tribute to you for what you did," said Tames, who is the parade's grand marshal. "We shall be known by our deeds alone."
The 10 a.m. Saturday We Remember parade is sponsored by Warrior's Weekend, the Crossroads' largest veterans' celebration.
Ron Kocian, the president of Warrior's Weekend, expects at least 100 Korean War veterans; about 60 of whom are from the Crossroads. The parade will feature floats, cars and walkers, who will march down Main Street through downtown Victoria.
After the parade, Korean War veterans and their families will have a steak luncheon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 2001 Lova Drive.
"We want to certainly come out and honor these guys," Kocian said. "It's going to be pretty cool."
Tames, who was born and raised in Victoria, is excited that Korean War veterans will be recognized.
Tames enlisted in the Army at 17 years old. He served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He earned 34 service medals, including the Purple Heart and badges of courage, he said.
"I did what I had to do when the time was right," he said.
Tames remembers the war as if it were yesterday. He remembers being concerned, not scared.
"You don't have time to get scared when you're in a firefight," he said. "It's not until later that you start shaking to death."
The Korean War, which is commonly called "The Forgotten War," will always be difficult for those who weren't involved to remember, he said.
For this reason, Tames hopes to meet veterans who served in his Army unit - 40th Infantry Division, A Company, 223 Regiment.
"It would be great to meet somebody else," Tames said. "It would mean a lot just to meet someone in the same unit who can talk about what took place and know he went through the same things. They understand where you've been and where you're coming from."