The U.S. entered the Korean Conflict on June 17, 1950. The Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
On September 30, 1949, Park High junior Irwin Oborn left school at age 17 to join the Army. In August 1950 he was sent to Korea to fight with the First Army division at Taegu, Korea. He was killed on September 1, 1950, still age 17. In the November 7, 1950 Echo, an editorial was published entitled “We Pay Tribute to Irwin.”
To: Pvt. Irwin Oborn
Address: A grave in Korea.
From: Your friends, the students of St. Louis Park
We want you to know Irwin, even though you may not be able to read this, how much we think of you. We’ve known you for many years; we were with you in school, at play. We were sad when you joined the army, but we realized a military career was what you wanted.
Then war came. Though you were only seventeen, you had to fight. Your furlough was cancelled; your parents and girl friend had only enough time to say good bye and good luck. But you weren’t destined to be lucky. You fought against stronger foes and did not win in the battle for life.
Many died with you, young boys, having so much to live for, yet leaving life so soon. And why were you fighting? Why did you have to give your life?
You died because power-thirsty people want “one world,” governed in their own way. You and others gave your lives because some people think their way is best, knowing of no other method but violence to prove it.
You fought, Irwin, and you died for America and for peace. You and your buddies in Korea can be proud of the role you have played.
We your friends, want you to know we will never forget you; and we will all strive more diligently for that which you have your life – peace.
In its February 27, 1951 issue, the Echo broached the question of whether 18-year-olds should be drafted. In the same issue, it listed some of the former Park High students who were serving in the military:
Wayne Fabrello Elliot Chaska
Allen Dale Dick Hallberg
Russell Pavey Darwin Lorance
Jim Armada Ronald M. Johnson
Don Gardner John Thayer
Dick Hinton Glenn Peterson
Gene Brochu Pat Kearney
Park students were encouraged to write to their friends in the service.
In its January 13, 1954 issue, the Park High Echo reprinted an article from a Scholastic Roto news service entitled “Boys Encouraged to Think Positively About Uncle Sam’s Call to Service.” The Echo editor’s note said “We feel that careful planning is necessary in order to make the most of the opportunities available in the service of our country.” Although “Now that the hot war is no longer on in Korea,” the tone of the article was that service was inevitable and needed to be faced and made the best of.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC was dedicated on July 26-29, 1995.
The Korean War Memorial on the St. Paul Capitol grounds was dedicated on September 13, 1998.