November 26, 2022

Korean War veterans esteemed on local stage

The history of small town journalism and Korean War veterans from Adair County intersected nicely in a set of events over the weekend at the Warren Cultural Center.

In Sunday’s portion of the slate, Adair County youth read various pieces of Adair County Free Press coverage from then-editor K.H. Sidey about men going off to war and the war’s connection to life at home.

Ken Sidey, K.H. Sidey’s grandson, who emceed the event, said he had not read these articles and editorials for a long time.

“To be able to read and know that my grandfather was in a way a witness to that history, to me he was just my grandfather. It has taken me growing up, getting a little older and becoming a journalist myself to appreciate the quality of what he did, the history he covered and the way that he addressed those issues in a very personal way,” Sidey said. “That’s one of the takeaways, that you hear about the Korean War, and it’s kind of a forgotten war. It becomes very personal when he’s naming names and they’re reporting on local men who served.”

The first reading of the event, from July 20, 1950, reported that physicals would be the first step for men going off to war. The Adair County Draft Board was to have eight men ready for physicals, although there were 200 men available on the 1-A draft classification in the county. It reported on what was happening with draft boards across the state, how each man would need a 5-day notice before reporting for their physical.

Seven days later the second reading was originally printed. The Free Press reported then that eight men were to leave for pre-induction examination, seven reported. Those seven were Ralph Klingston, Jr. of Orient; George Thompson of Dexter; Charlie Cooper of Patterson and formerly of Orient; Morris Morgan of Greenfield and Richard Schewman of Anita. Ralph Fusselman of Bridgewater left his trucking business for a day and a half and William Reis of Greenfield took time off of his position with Schildberg Chevrolet.

Sidey reported that it was “ominously similar” to the beginning of the the thing in the early 1940s, when Gaylord Jacobson, Jim Ray, Rex Denton, Vernon Hohman, Dale Jensen and countless others left for their “year” of service. But this time, the United States was actually at war.

On Nov. 9, 1950, Sidey wrote an editorial entitled “Making Sacrifices.” He commented on World War II veterans being called back into service as part of the reserve corps and farmers who rearranged their lives to meet the demand, and how those are both sacrifices that shouldn’t be taken for granted by those still on the home front. He implored readers to not forget the war just because it’s far from home in Adair County.

An undated editorial from Sidey outlined how the three things everyone can do to help the war effort is to buy defense bonds, give blood and sell scrap metal.

“They are things which must be done if we are to be successful in the Korean War, and by building up our military power, to prevent World War III,” Sidey wrote.

Finally, readers recounted a story from Nov. 5, 2003, written by Terri Queck-Matzie and printed in the Free Press. The story recounted a conversation between veterans Earl Baudler, Dale Finck, Bruce Brown, Max Jacobson and Fred Schreiber, about the war. In this story, all five of these veterans recounted stories about the war.

Nodaway Valley juniors Bella Hogan and Tyler Cooper, as well as freshman Haisley Zoubek, were three of the several readers who took the stage reading these original Free Press reports.

“I learned a lot about local history from this event,” Zoubek said. “I’ve enjoyed listening to everything that they’re saying and soaking it all in.”

Cooper said one of the takeaways for him was comparing what life was like in the 1950s, as opposed to what it is like today.

“It’s interesting what it was like in the 1950s, compared to today,” he said. “It was interesting to me how they talked about the physicals and the process of registering for it.”

One of the takeaways Hogan had was seeing how life went for locals in the 1950s and the role the community newspaper played in that.

“Seeing the affects it had, that [the war] was such a global thing but the impacts it had on the small community here, it takes you back to see how people reacted to things happening around the world,” Hogan said.

Tammy Pearson and Linda Sidey were also catalysts in the planning and execution of this event. Other readers were Kamera Wolfe, Sophia Christensen, Quentin Shaull, Ely Rohner, Abygail Scovel, Lea Stonebraker, Bryar Hudson, KayLynn Virtue, Delanie Brown, Jayden Rohner, Avery Lewis and Calli Schwartz.

Saturday night, several members of the Cumberland Rose Players took part in a M*A*S*H trivia night. In that was Col. Sherman Potter (Ryan Stonebraker), Hawkeye Pierce (Andrew Ehrsam), Dr. Sidney Freedman (Dr. Ryan Frost), Father Mulcahy (Dr. Tim Jensen), Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Marcia Gross), Klinger (John Schildberg), Radar O’Reilly (Dan Dickinson), Feisty Referee 1 (Brenda Thaden), Feisty Referee 2 (Cath Olesen) and Grand Master of the Prizes (Stacie Eshelman).

The Greenfield Business Women served ice cream at intermission of both events.

“We thought this was a very good way to salute our veterans and involve our entire community,” Pearson said. “We’re so fortunate that we’ve had a community newspaper that has covered the history of our community. So much of that history is lost and not discussed, but when you look back at the pages of the time, it tells us what’s going on in the community at the time. We hear about the people, their struggles, the tragedies and the triumphs. This is a real treasure for us to have the day to day record of what was happening at that time. It’s so important for us to share that.”

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.