The Korean War Veterans Memorial was authorized in 1989 by the Washington State Legislature and has two purposes: to express the gratitude of the citizens of this state for all who served in Korea; and, to project the spirit of service, willingness to sacrifice, and dedication to freedom in remembering those Washingtonians who lost their lives in the war.
Nearly five years of fund raising efforts raised almost $400,000 for the project. More than $320,000 came from private donations, with $70,000 in state matching funds. Since 1991, the lead for the project's fund raising was the Chosin Few, a veterans service organization of Korean War veterans who served in one of the bloodiest battles during the war.
The sculpture is the work of Spokane artist Deborah Copenhaver and is of three battle-weary soldiers huddled around a campfire. It was erected on the east capitol campus and was dedicated on July 24, 1993, three days from the 40th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Of the 2.5 million Americans who served in Korea, 122,000 were from Washington State. The names of 528 state residents listed as killed in action during the war are permanently engraved on the memorial. More than six million Americans served in the military during the Korean War, and nearly 53,000 lost their lives during that time.