QC Korean War veterans reflect on 65th armistice and return of remains

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ROCK ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY -- In the solitude of Rock Island National Cemetery, Daniel Foulke, 86, salutes his fallen comrades.

"It's a day that I remember all of those men that I left behind over there," he said.

As Foulke and other local veterans remember the 65th anniversary of the armistice, they also think about some 7,800 Americans still missing.

"Thankfully, that number is probably about 55 less," said Col. Stephen Marr, garrison commander at Rock Island Arsenal.

That's after North Korea released the remains of U.S. soldiers on Friday, July 27.  It's a gesture that offers closure for families, even without relief.

"My feeling is that most of them were probably prisoners of war that they killed," said Foulke, who served as a combat engineer.

For Korea-era vets like Bob Baecke, 88, it sheds new light on the so-called forgotten war.

"We never got a closure to war, just a cease fire," he said.  "We've got to get this thing off the front burner and put it to bed."

For Daniel, Bob and the others, it's all about remembering those veterans who did not come home.  Now, there are finally some answers about these lingering mysteries.

"Your achievements and sacrifices will always be remembered," Col. Marr said.

During a solemn wreath presentation, survivors honor the fallen.  Just like they did so long ago, it remains a call to duty for the two men.

"It's to pay our respects for all those who gave their lives for this," Foulke said.

In the sunshine, there's gratitude and sadness.

"You think about the people that you served with," Baecke concluded.  "As you look back, there's not too many around any more."

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