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Veterans for Peace
Chapter #114
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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Posted May 31, 2005


Korea vet marches for peace

By Eric LaRose
Sheboygan Press Staff

Sheboygan resident Harvey Weber, 76, marched in the city parade Monday with a somber reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

He walked proudly, squeezed between a marching band and several classic cars, brandishing a homemade sign that read: “Korea Vet Prays for Peace.”

“I pray for peace, I’m not going to pray for war,” Weber said. “Always pray for peace, never pray for war. Never, never, never, never.”

Weber marched with Veterans for Peace, a nonprofit organization made up of veterans who have seen the horrors of war and don’t want anyone else to live through what they did. The small group of plainly dressed people carried signs opposing war and a small coffin with an American flag draped over it.

Weber grew up on a farm in Mount Calvary, just outside of Fond du Lac. He was drafted into active duty and served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953.

“When I left and went into the service, it was a snowy day. I’ll never forget it,” Weber said. “My mother cried when I left. She thought I’d never come back. I didn’t think I was going to come back either. I made it back. Some of my friends didn’t.”

He still carries his draft card with him in his wallet.

If you ask him about his two years in Korea, Weber doesn’t want to discuss it. He said that he saw some things that no one should have to. Some, he said, didn’t come back from Korea because they couldn’t handle what they saw.

“It was not pretty. We lost about 54,000 soldiers there in about three years of war,” Weber said. “I don’t even like to talk about it. I talk so little about it that I damn near get upset even thinking about it. … The Korean War was horrible.”

The group stood out among the marching bands, boy scouts, uniformly dressed VFW posts and politicians waving to parade watchers from shiny cars.

As Weber marched down the parade route, north on Seventh Street to Superior Avenue, up to Ninth Street and down to Fountain Park, many stood and stared silently, but the group was also met with pockets of applause.

Some stood up from their lawn chairs, while others clapped and hooted and hollered.

Sheboygan resident Mary Thorne, 53, was one of those people. She was watching the parade with her 6-year-old granddaughter Katrina, and when Weber marched passed she applauded enthusiastically. Katrina tried to playfully stop her from clapping, but she said to her that it was important for to show approval for Weber’s message.

“War is not the answer,” Thorne said. “I have a car with a ‘War is not the answer’ sign in the back of it. I think there are other ways of solving financial problems in the world.”

For Weber, that’s exactly what he wanted people to get out of it. For him, it’s not just a memorial for those who fought, it’s a reminder why war should be avoided.

“I get a little worked up about this (Iraq) war here,” Weber said. “I think about all of the soldiers that died, and for what? What for?”

Reach Eric LaRose at elarose@sheboygan-press.com and 453-5167.




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