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Korean War vets honored in book by Korean government

Bernard Kayser, of Alexandria, hands out a copy of a Korean War book that was published in cooperation with the South Korean government to say thanks to U.S. soldiers who served in the Korean War. Local veterans picked up the books Thursday at Twin City Fan in Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Charlotte Friederich wanted a book honoring U.S. soldiers, including her husband, who fought in the Korean War.

She got 240 of them.

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Friederich, of Mitchell, whose husband is Maynard Friederich, sought a copy of “Korea Reborn: A Grateful Nation Honors War Veterans For 60 Years of Growth” after seeing it at a local Korean War veterans’ association meeting earlier this year.

“Maynard looked at it and he wanted one,” she said. “I found a telephone number and called a woman in Vermont who’s in charge of handing them out. She told me they didn’t send them out individually. We ended up getting enough to give all Korean War veterans in the state.”

The shipment of books came recently to local business Twin City Fan, where Maynard worked for six-and-a-half years. Thursday, the Friederichs met two other Korean War veterans at Twin City Fan to pick up the books, bring them home and start distributing them.

On April 26, at the association’s next meeting in Mitchell, the books will be handed out for free to any Korean War veteran. The book, which was assembled to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war’s end in 1953, was published by Remember My Service in cooperation with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. It looks back at the Korean War, the years that followed and shows appreciation for U.S. veterans who served in the conflict. The book’s dust jacket says it is distributed free to U.S. veterans of the Korean War and their families.

“There’s no other government that has shown appreciation like the Korean government,” said local association Commander Bernard Kayser, of Alexandria. “This is really exciting for us.”

The local association of Korean War veterans is called Major General Lloyd R. Moses Chapter 194 of South Dakota. The association covers South Dakota east of the Missouri River. The next meeting is when the majority of the books will be handed out, but Kayser said any Korean War veteran can pick up a book now.

Local Korean War veterans first saw the book in May at the association’s last meeting. A local member brought the book from a national convention, and it was raffled off at the meeting. After Friederich’s wife called and asked for a book, she said a woman asked her how many members were in the local organization and said she would have a shipment sent to Mitchell.

“Whoever wants one can have one,” said Kayser, who served from 1952 to 1954 in the Army. “Just about everything worth knowing about the Korean War is in this book.”

Darwin Buus, of Mitchell, served from 1951 to 1955 in the Navy. He’s proud of the way the Republic of Korea responded after the war and “built their county back up and pulled themselves up by the boot straps.”

“This book chokes you up a little bit,” he said. “They really appreciate us.”

Once the book is distributed, Charlotte Friederich, whose husband served from 1953 to 1955 in the Army, plans to put together comments on the book and send a card to the Korean government.

She pointed out a message in the book from Park Geun-hye, president of the Republic of Korea, which states, “I sincerely thank once again the veterans, their families, and all our friends from around the world for helping the Republic of Korea become what it is today.”