Korea vet marches for peace
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,
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?
Reach Eric LaRose
at email@example.com and 453-5167.