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  Dedication Completion of KWCM Photo Exhibit GI's and the Kids Mike Strang's Recognition  

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Photo by Diana Speer

Completion of the KWCM Pavilion

Sunday night, October 23rd, 2006 at 11 p.m. Mr. B.K Lee, a traditional tile setter from Seoul, Korea, put the finishing touches on the ceramic tile roof on the Korean War Children's Memorial Pavilion in Big Rock Garden Park in Bellingham. This now completes the construction of the memorial which honors US servicemen and women who saved the lives of over 10,000 children in the Korean War. This is the only memorial in the U.S. or Korea that honors US Forces for their humanitarian aid to the children of Korea during that war fought over 50 years ago.

The tiles put on the roof of the memorial structure weigh almost two tons and were shipped at no cost to the project from Korea courtesy of Hanjin Shipping. Mr. Lee's air passage was paid for by the oldest orphan saved in the Kiddy Car Airlift of 20 December 1950 when over 950 children were rescued by American forces from the advancing Chinese army. Mr. Lee Kang Hoon, one of those orphans, felt indebted to the American airmen who saved his life so he paid the air fare for the roof tile setter to come to Bellingham to install the roof.

Mr. B.K. Lee stayed at the home of Tana Chung and was hosted to dinner each evening by members of the Korean community in Bellingham. Osuk and Kim Kwon met Mr. Lee at SEA-TAC airport and took him back to the airport early Monday morning. Lunches for Mr. Lee, park department employees and community volunteers were prepared by the Korean Restaurant Teriyaki on Northwest Avenue. Other members of the Korean community of Bellingham provided interpreting services at the site. On the previous Friday evening a dinner honoring Mr. Lee and all volunteers was held at the Korean Restaurant Teriyaki. Mr. Lee left for Seoul on Monday, October 24th, where he has several contracts to install this type of roof on traditional buildings in Seoul which he had put on hold until done with the Bellingham project.

What Mr. Lee leaves behind is truly a Korean treasure. What is doubly remarkable is that he was able to create this work of art with helpers who spoke no Korean while he spoke no English. Trevor Hamro, Bellingham Park Department employee, was Mr. Lee's key helper. Also assisting throughout the project were Park Department employees Andrew Nielsen and Carl Clark. Notwithstanding the language barrier they communicated well enough to enable Mr. Lee to create a work of art that will be one of the treasures of the City of Bellingham Park Department.


The KWCM pavilion can be seen at Big Rock Garden Park, 2900 Sylvan St., Bellingham, Washington.




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