S. Korean government to help pay for Memphis war memorial

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (AP) - A gift of up to $20,000 from the South Korean government will help pay for a Korean War veterans memorial at a Memphis park.

The gift was announced Sunday night by Korean consul for political affairs Zha-Hyoung Rhee during a Korean War veteran appreciation dinner hosted by a Korean cultural group.

Rhee said the Korean General Assembly will decide on the exact amount of the gift. Korean War veteran George W. King, of Germantown, said plans call for the Korean War monument to be built at the Veterans Plaza in Overton Park. It will have five pillars, each featuring a photo from the war etched in bronze.

Most of the funds for the approximately $97,500 memorial have come through small individual contributions and small grants from local foundations.

King said Rhee told attendees of the dinner that his country has the third-largest number of troops in Iraq, following the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

He also noted that Korea stands 10th in the world economy, ranks as the seventh-largest trading partner with the United States, and that it donated $30 million to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.

"The war is not forgotten in Korea," King quoted Rhee as saying. "Korean citizens have a sincere appreciation for the United States veterans."

About 145 servicemen from the Memphis area were among the 38,000 Americans killed during the war.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)