Richard Bilowos was a self-professed war bride. Drafted into the Army Infantry in 1952 to fight in the Korean War, the long time resident of Lombard got married on a weekend pass before shipping off. Bilowos’ good fortune extended beyond marital bliss. Although he completed basic and advanced leadership training stateside in preparation for the Korean conflict, the War ended before his actual arrival in Korea. Bilowos spent his honeymoon in Korea with the boys, but he did so without having to see combat. He worked in a regimental headquarters office north of Seoul. “The shooting had stopped but the hostilities remained. Still to this day, there’s North Korea vs. south Korea,” he said. When Bilowos returned home safely after 15 months in Korea, he belatedly began his married life, his family and his 35-year career with Bell Labs.
July 27th marks the 60th anniversary of the conclusion of the Korean War. It was a conflict that took an immense toll on American servicemen; an estimated 1.5 American troops served, with more than 35,000 losing their lives. Coming on the heels of the glory of WWII however, the Korean War is overlooked and often referred to as the Forgotten War.
On June 19 and 20, Lexington Square Senior Residence will honor Korean War veterans through a program led by renowned speaker and Korean War educator, Lynnita Jean Brown. Many Americans she said have historically been uninformed about the Korean War. “In truth, it mattered because the spread of communism was halted on the Korean peninsula, giving a signal to the rest of the world that the menace of communism would not be tolerated by free people,” she said. “The phrase ‘Freedom is not free’ is not made of empty words. It is a fact. As a result of my research on the Korean War, I hold Korean War veterans in the highest regard. They taught me to never take my freedom for granted because brave men and women suffered and died to ensure that I have it.”
During the event at Lexington Square in Lombard and Elmhurst, Brown will explain the details of the Korean War, and talk about firsthand accounts of soldiers who have shared their stories with her. She will also help veterans learn how to connect with their fellow servicemen.
The Korean War event will be held at Lexington Square Lombard on Wednesday June 19 at 5:30 p.m., and at Lexington Square Elmhurst on Thursday, June 20 at 1 p.m. To RSVP call 630-576-4800.