Shawnee Woman Remembers M.I.A. Service Members
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma - As we remember those who have served in our military, one Shawnee woman is making it her mission to always remember the thousands who are still listed as "Missing in Action."
Her story received national attention when it was told on the U.S. House floor last week.
On any given day, you can find Zona Cockrell at the VFW Post #1317 in Shawnee.
"It's my second home, I live for the veterans I get to take care of every time I come in here," Cockrell said.
The post is also where her husband, Charles Cockrell, a veteran Marine, spent much of his time, before he died and left Zona with this special charge.
"He said please, just don't let our forgotten boys in Korea, just don't let them be forgotten," she said.
Charles fought in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. He led a troop, but eight of his Marines went missing.
"He had always wondered what happened to them," Cockrell said.
Charles' dying wish was that their memory would stay alive.
"He said these mothers, these fathers, these sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, they need to know."
So Zona Cockrell raised money to place a special granite bench in Woodlands Veterans Park in Shawnee, in memory of all those who are still missing in Korea.
"I can go down there, and I sit on my husband's bench, and I feel like, I'm feeling him within my grasp."
Cockrell's story reached Congressman James Lankford who told the U.S. House.
"Mrs. Cockrell is still carrying out her husband's wish, she is still challenging the nation not to not to forget, and when I met her that day, that was her one emphasis, do not allow them to be forgotten," Rep. Lankford said.
"Memorial Day is not just a single day in America, Memorial Day is every day in America for those who choose not to forget."
The Korean War ended six decades ago, but there are still more than 7800 listed as "Missing in Action."