Drake Family Annual Report 2003

‘Tis that time of the year again when we turn on the lap top computer and record for history and for our many dear friends the activities of this small segment of the population of the City of Bellingham for the year 2003.

The two biggest activities that generated a lot of publicity in local and even international media were the dedication of the Korean War memorials in Big Rock Garden Park (our former nursery/garden). In the fifty years since the end of the Korean War there has not been a ceremony honoring the twelve young men from this county who died in that conflict or the hundreds who served. So George took it upon himself to do something about it. He ordered a twelve story carved granite pagoda, 9 ft. tall, from Korea to honor the twelve who died in the war. He ordered a 6 ft. tall granite lantern to honor all who served. Then he engaged in a search for the families of the twelve who died and located nine of them including two gold-star mothers, in their 90s. He did the paperwork to get the Korean War Medal for all families. At the ceremony on Memorial Day over 300 persons came including a Korean War General (Korean) in his resplendent white uniform. The Lummi Indian ceremonial drum group brought in the flags. It was an impressive ceremony.

George’s next activity, on which he has been working for over four years, was the dedication of the Korean War Children’s Memorial, a five sided pavilion supported on five posts topped with an incredible wood joinery structure supporting the tiled roof.

Folks came from many parts of the US and Korea for the dedication ceremony and banquet. Two generals came from the pentagon to participate in the ceremony. George got the surprise of his life when two fellows came who claim that he saved their lives over 50 years ago. They were Korean War orphans. It was a deeply emotional ceremony and banquet.

Now he is hard at work on a book and a photo exhibit entitled “GIs and the Kids – a Love Story: American Armed Forces and the Children of Korea 1950-1954.” He still has multi-thousands of dollars to raise to pay for the memorial pavilion but he is always the optimist. Let’s hope he is right.

George has a goal of riding his age in miles on his bike on his birthday. This is the second year in a row that he has cheated and only did it in km. He still tries to do a lot of lunch-time riding during the week. Mary Ann’s racquetball game is still good but from time to time the 86 year old woman she plays with beats her and the 75 year old man who plays with them. David gets to the Y to swim twice a week. We try to keep as active as our body permits.

Mary Ann goes to fewer craft shows now but still sells lots of her hats at the two shows she still attends. It keeps her busy spinning and knitting and keeps her creative juices flowing. David continues in his job with the food services at Western Washington University and, when the university is closed, he works for the Park Department up in