Today I stopped at Memorial Park to pause in the pavilion area to remember the many service personnel who have died defending our country. Even though I am not an American citizen, having lived here for nearly 50 years, I consider myself one of you. The commemorative flags from last week’s parade were still in place and flapping in the breeze. It is just a small, but fitting, tribute to those in our City who have died. Missing, however, was the trio of wreaths which are usually laid at the memorial, each wreath signifying war dead from WW II, Korea and Vietnam.
This holiday, however, I wanted to acknowledge the last two veterans to be memorialized in the park’s pavilion area.
On Veteran’s Day 2013 I wrote about Sergeant Craig S. Frank, who is one of 31 service personnel in Michigan who have been honored with a Fallen Heroes Statue. Sgt. Frank was a member of the Army National Guard and lost his life on July 17, 2004 after a RPG struck him from behind during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Here is the link to this prior post: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2013/11/11/remembering-and-honoring-our-vets/
You cannot help but notice the addition of Peter J. Buffa’s name to Lincoln Park’s Korean War Memorial. That update sticks out like a sore thumb on the tarnished brass plaque that has been in place for decades. I’ve pondered over that addition long enough, then curiosity got the better of me, so I researched and discovered a story from our City’s Historical Society that stated the Lincoln Park’s Korean War Memorial was re-dedicated in May of 2014 when soldier Peter J. Buffa, Jr.’s name was added to the monument. Private First Class Peter J. Buffa, Jr. was listed as missing in action on July 7, 1953 during intense action on Pork Chop Hill, just days from a formal peace agreement. The U.S. Army officially declared PFC Buffa dead a year later on July 8, 1954. His name was not added to the Lincoln Park Korean War Memorial for 60 years thereafter. He graduated from Lincoln Park High School in 1949 and played football during his tenure there. He is memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, ‘The Punchbowl’, at Honolulu.
I leave you with this thought on Memorial Day 2016…
“The debt we owe our fallen heroes is one we can never truly repay. But our responsibility to remember is something we can live up to every day of the year.” ~President Obama’s Weekly Address 05/28/16 “Remembering Our Fallen Heroes”