The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 13, 2013

Honor Korean vets, support museum

By Karen Middleton

— Many of you might have read a feature story The News Courier ran on its Lifestyle pages about a week and a half ago about the upcoming Alabama Veterans Museum-sponsored variety show, “Korea: The Forgotten War Remembered.”

The show will be staged on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Senior Center on Pryor Street. I would personally like to urge you to purchase a ticket if you haven’t already done so. It will be an enjoyable afternoon to support a good cause.

The Veterans Museum was the dream of many of our beloved veterans who have now left us. And it continues through the hard work of volunteers who want to keep the legacy alive of our local unsung heroes who sacrificed months and sometimes years of family life, and sometimes even their health and very lives, to defend our nation.

The museum has surpassed the expectations of the original board and volunteers who wanted a place to keep safe the mementoes and artifacts of the nation’s military engagements. Now, it has become a major tourist attraction and a resource for students to study history.

The museum also lends itself as a meeting place for local civic groups and the focal point for patriotic celebrations.

Many do not know that except for two employees, the museum is run by volunteers. It does get some modest public funding. This is why supporting fundraising efforts is so important.

This year’s show chronicles the tragic story of Billy Morgan Phillips, son of Walter and Hattie Phillips of Athens. Young Phillips went to serve in Korea and never came back. He starved to death in a North Korean prisoner of war camp and his remains were never recovered.

But while the show memorializes Phillips, it is not a glum show, but rather a snapshot of life in Athens and the nation in the 1950s.

Tickets are available at the museum for 10 bucks each. If you want to buy a chance on winning a painting I painted, its 5 bucks.