Originally created 09/13/98

Veterans park plans first honor



MIAs and POWs will be recognized and honored at a special observance at the site of the Horse Creek/Midland Valley Veterans Park on South Carolina Highway 421 between Anthony and Maple Streets in Bath, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

And little attention has been paid to those who fought and died in that war nearly half a decade ago, said Freddie Gray, a resident of Warrenville.

Mr. Gray served with the Second Infantry in Korea from 1948 to the end of the conflict in 1953, the last 32 months as a prisoner of the Chinese in Camp 5 near the Yalu River.

In another war and another time, Charles Warner of Aiken suffered the same fate as Mr. Gray. He was taken prisoner by the Germans during World War II and held most of the time at Stalag 2B near Danzig on the Baltic Sea in what is now Poland.

He enlisted in 1942 and had risen to the rank of sergeant by the time he was captured in Italy in 1943. Sgt. Warner remained a prisoner of war for 27 months until he was freed by the Russians on his birthday, May 3, 1945.

Coordinated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9164, and the Ladies Auxiliary, POW/MIA Recognition Day will be the first event held at the site.

"We'll have the beautiful drawing of the plans for the park available for everybody to see," said Judith Knight, a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and co-chairman of the event.

"Jack Adkison and I will be there to take donations and sell bricks, but the main purpose of the day is to honor local POWs and MIAs from area families."

Like Mr. Adkison, Mrs. Knight knows what it's like to lose a brother to the vagaries of war.

Her brother Homer I. May voluntarily left college and went to war with his friends. He was declared missing in action in September 1951. There is a marker to him in Arlington National Cemetery and the family cherishes his posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross.

Mrs. Knight says she is sure there are others in the Aiken-Augusta area who are ex-prisoners of war and she wants to hear from them, as well as from MIA families.

"We want to read the honor roll of all known ex-POWs from the area as well as those missing in action," she said.

Anyone wanting to put the name of a POW or MIA on the list should call Mrs. Knight at 593-3553.