Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton and Commissioner of Major League Baseball Allan H. (Bud) Selig will honor and remember Korean War veterans during a formal wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Wednesday, June 14, 2000, at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Joining Shelton and Selig will be Korean War Marine captain and former baseball player Jerry Coleman. Other retired players from the Korean War era and numerous Korean War veterans also have been invited to attend.
The wreath-laying ceremony, with full military honors, will be followed by a press conference with Shelton, Selig, and other ceremony participants.
More than 1.7 million Americans fought and nearly 37,000 Americans died in the Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, and continued until the fighting ended by armistice on July 27, 1953. Numerous major league baseball players served in the armed forces during the war. Three, in particular, played direct combat roles in the war. Coleman and Ted Williams, both Marine aviators, flew numerous combat missions over Korea. Both had been Marine aviators in World War II and were called to service in Korea in 1952 when their reserve units were activated. Air Force Maj. Robert Neighbors, a pilot who appeared briefly with the 1939 St. Louis Browns, was lost over North Korea in 1952. Neighbors' son will attend the June 14 ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Coleman, the Associated Press Rookie of the Year in 1949, played in six World Series in nine seasons with the New York Yankees. He was named to the American League All-Star Team in 1950 and later that season was selected World Series Most Valuable Player. He is currently in his 28th season as a broadcaster with the San Diego Padres, a team he managed during the 1980 season. Coleman's career was twice interrupted by military service, including 57 combat missions during World War II and another 63 in Korea.
The 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration, authorized by Congress, will commence on June 25, 2000, with opening ceremonies in Seoul, Korea, and at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Major League Baseball will be an active participant with commemorative activities planned at many major league ballparks on June 25, 2000 and remembrances during the All-Star Game and World Series.
For further information about the June 14 ceremony, contact Army Lt. Col. Anita Minniefield at (703) 604-0820 or email Anita.Minniefield@hqda.army.mil .
For information regarding media access to, and logistical requirements at Arlington National Cemetery, contact Military District of Washington Public Affairs at (202) 685-4645. This event is open to the public.
General information about the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration may be found at the official commemoration website: http://Korea50.army.mil.