By Danielle Church

The Killeen Daily Herald

 Martial music played as guests gathered in front of the Korean War Memorial at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center Saturday evening to honor the 37,000 Americans lost and those who remain missing in action.

"This is an annual commemoration; every year we do this," said veteran Albert Gonzales. "We try to remember some of our buddies that never came back."

Korean War Veterans Chapter 222 of Central Texas hosted the commemoration ceremony, which marked the 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

City officials, local veterans, and community members were in the audience.

The Rev. Chansoon Lim of St. Luke's United Methodist Church led the invocation and prayers for the thousands of American veterans and Republic of Korea soldiers and civilians who their lives in defense of democracy in the Republic of Korea.

Although it is called "The Forgotten War," Lim expressed the realization that "we cannot forget this war."

"As a Korean person, I would like to say that I am proud to stand here," Lim said.

He expressed his personal gratitude toward the veterans who risked their lives in the name of freedom for his country.

Guest speaker for the event was Killeen Councilman Juan Rivera.

Rivera served a tour in Korea along the demilitarized zone after the war.

He began his speech by saying, "Every one of us has our own history. It's an honor for me to be here this afternoon."

"We're here to remember what happened in Korea," Rivera said.

Master of ceremonies Fermin Cantu also expressed gratitude.

"It's an honor to be a part of this organization," Cantu said. "It's good to remember them (veterans) and pay tribute to what they did."

The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953, with a signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement.

But the veterans who stood outside the memorial monument on Saturday will forever continue paying tribute to their lost brothers.

Contact Danielle Church at dchurch@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567.

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