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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just in time for Memorial Day, Philadelphia’s Korean War Memorial will shine bright after years of being in the dark, thanks to the efforts of one man and a company who has stepped up to help him.
Jim Moran never leaves his house without two items in his pocket.
“I carry my brother’s dog tag and there’s the first chip out of the Vietnam memorial, the damage that was done,” he said.
They are precious tokens that remind him of the sacrifice so many, like his brother, have made to their country.
“It does bring comfort to me, just to be here,” Moran said, while standing inside the Korean War Memorial in Society Hill. “I started out for my brother and now I have all kinds of brothers.”
Moran is the longtime volunteer caretaker of both the Korean War and Vietnam War memorials in Philadelphia.
“I’m just in love with this memorial and our Vietnam memorial,” he said.
Over the years, nearly 40 of the 44 lights at the Korean memorial have burned out, and over that time, Moran’s pleas for help went unanswered.
“It bothers me every day how this beautiful memorial has to fall into the dark,” he said.
That was the case until the owner of Eagle Industrial Electric out of Essington, Pennsylvania, heard about the need and sent out his own troops to light up the memorial once again.
“Jimmy has a friend who knows the owner of my company, Gerald Rothstein, and his father served in the military during the Korean War, so this really touched home for us,” said Art Becker, an electrician who came out to do the work.
Moran feels a strong obligation to maintain the memorials, which helps him feel connected to the Marine brother he lost in the Vietnam War. The moment so painful, Moran can recite the details from memory.
“I lost my brother, Bernard J. Moran, in Cambodia, Dec. 12, 1971, 13 days before his birthday, Christmas Day,” he said. “I named my only son after my brother.”
Moran is hoping others who’ve lost loved ones in the wars can visit the memorials at any time of the day or night and know their family members are not forgotten.
“It should be lit up bright so people can see it with honor,” he said. “The lights should be on.”
In the process of replacing the bulbs, electricians found that about 20 of these lights need to be completely replaced at a cost of thousands of dollars. To contribute, visit: https://www.philakoreanmemorial.us/