Witt: Project 1107 would be fitting home for war memorial

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The 38 degree north meridian runs smack-dab through downtown Winchester.

An interesting geographical fact, but what is its significance?

Well, ask any Korean War veteran and you will find that this meridian is what is commonly referred to as the 38th parallel, the latitude line that runs through the Korean peninsula and the one which was crossed by North Korean forces June 25, 1950 and began the Korean War, a conflict that lasted more than three years and cost the lives of some 36,000 Americans.

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Of course, most people don’t realize the same latitude line that is so infamous manifests itself right here at home.

Fortunately, Kentuckians don’t typically experience the type of weather the Korean peninsula does, especially in the winter when temperatures often hover there well below freezing and frequently below zero.

The reason for these weather differences is the Korean peninsula is bounded on its east by the Sea of Japan and on its west by the Yellow Sea, two bodies of water which greatly impact the weather trends there.

But the significance of the congruity related to the 38th parallel takes on even greater importance here and the reason is this:

Several years ago, the local Veterans Council sponsored a design contest to select a design for a new World War II/Korean War memorial that was to be constructed here.

It is somewhat ironic that this community has memorials to World War I and the Vietnam War, but nothing to commemorate the sacrifices of those who fought in World War II and Korea.

A design was chosen and the hunt began for a location for the memorial, finally resulting in a long term lease with Kentucky Bank, which would have seen the memorial erected on the corner of Lexington Avenue and Maple Street.

That lease has been abrogated since the bank will be moving to new quarters and the CVS locating on that corner.

Only a very few years ago, World War II veterans were dying off at the rate of 1,100 per day nationwide. That number is declining because of the reduction in the number of those veterans still alive.

But veterans of the Korean War are now mostly in their 80s and are dying off at an increasing rate.

It is time for this memorial to be built, while some of these veterans are still alive to see it and to understand their service is recognized and appreciated.

Now, the Veterans Council is in discussions with The Greater Clark Foundation to secure enough space at the 1107 Project for the memorial.

The 1107 project was not originally developed with consideration for the memorial, but there is a huge amount of space in the project so some accommodation should be made to modify the overall design to include this important endeavor.

Several significant donations have been made or committed to the memorial, including funds and services, making its fruition well within sight. Except for a location. The Greater Clark Foundation can remedy this shortcoming.

The Veterans Council has worked diligently and continuously for years to get this memorial underway. The Greater Clark Foundation is encouraged to find a spot for this memorial, a long overdue recognition of the service of many individuals in this community — and many more who have passed on.

Time is running out for many veterans. This needs to be done. Now.

Chuck Witt is a retired architect and a lifelong resident of Winchester. He can be reached at chuck740@bellsouth.net.