Clanton veteran to attend Korean War memorial ceremonyBy Emily Beckett Published 6:19pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013
July will be a busy month for Lally Bates of Clanton.
After celebrating the Fourth of July at home, Bates will travel with his son and grandsons to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on July 27.
As a Korean War veteran, Bates received an invitation from the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee for “Heroes Remembered,” a ceremony marking 60 years since the signing of the Korean War Armistice.
“I’ve never been to a ceremony like this before,” Bates said. “I’m looking forward to what they have to say about this. The Korean War is the first war the United Nations fought in as a unit, and I’m anxious to hear what is said.”
Prior to the ceremony on July 27, Bates and his family plan to attend a U.S. Marine Corps Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks on July 25.
Bates said he hasn’t been back to Washington, D.C. since the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in 1996.
He also attended the ground breaking of the memorial on June 14, 1992, during President George Bush’s term in office.
“I’m excited,” Bates said. “I hope to see some of the people I served in Korea with that I haven’t seen in probably 60 years.”
Bates is among a small number of Korean War veterans still living, and perhaps the only Chilton County veteran going to the 60th anniversary ceremony of the war’s end.
“There’s not a whole lot left,” he said of his fellow veterans. “I’m just real thankful that I’m still living and in good health.”
Bates enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 27, 1949, his 18th birthday.
While in Korea, he fought in several major battles and earned three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Combat “V.”
Coincidentally, the ceremony July 27 for the Korean War Armistice signing falls on Bates’ 82nd birthday.
“I’m proud that I served my country,” Bates said.