George Eyler was a little more than one month shy of completing his 13-month tour in Korea when he was ambushed by the Chinese army.
The Korean War veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps said he was leading his squad through Panmunjom, Korea, when he encountered two enemy soldiers and heard the loud "pop" of a burp gun, a Soviet submachine gun.
Eyler was struck in the ankle by gunfire. The 78-year-old York native said his fellow Marines shot the man who fired on him while he stumbled over a hill to find the other soldier.
That's when Eyler said he ran into an entire platoon of Chinese soldiers.
"To this day, I still think they were trying to capture me ... they kept shooting at my feet and legs," said Eyler, who was shot multiple times in his ankle and leg.
"Two of my guys were able to get me out of there," he said, noting he was the only Marine in his squad wounded during the ambush.
Honors: During his three years in the Marines, Eyler received several honors, including the Silver Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Korean Service Medal with three stars and the National Defense Service Medal.
He's also an adjutant of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 390, a commandant and life member of Marine Corps League First Capitol Detachment, and a life member of VFW Post 8951 West York and American Legion Post 791 Shiloh.
And at 11 a.m. Monday, he will be among nearly 100 Korean War veterans honored at the
annual York County Memorial Day Ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Park in York City, next to York Catholic High School.
Korean War: Each year, the York County Veterans Affairs office chooses to honor veterans of a particular conflict, director Phil Palandro said.
World War II and Vietnam War veterans have been specifically honored through York County ceremonies on several occasions this year, which is why Palandro said it was time to give attention to the Korean War veterans.
The event, however, is held to honor York County veterans of all conflicts and branches of the military.
Eyler will serve as the ceremony's officer of the day, where he'll give all commands of the ceremony and advance the Colors.
Speaker: Iraq War veteran and U.S. Army Reserve Col. Craig Trebilcock was selected as the keynote speaker at this year's event, Palandro said.
In addition to his military service, Trebilcock is a litigator known for his pro bono representation of Spring Garden Township resident Albert Snyder, in Snyder's court battle against Westboro Baptist Church.
In 2006, protesters from Westboro picketed the funeral of Snyder's son, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's, with signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" to express their belief that soldiers' deaths are punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.
The case was decided last fall, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Westboro Baptist.
The York County Commissioners, U.S. Rep. Todd Platts and several Pennsylvania legislators also are scheduled to attend.
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND EVENTS:
---LOGANVILLE: Civil War Living History Encampment, by the 45th Pa. Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Co. K, Saturday-Monday at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market, 8892 Susquehanna Trail South, Loganville.
---WRIGHTSVILLE: 36th annual Heritage Day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the John Wright property, 120 N. Front St., rain or shine.
---DOVER: A salute to the armed forces, with an honor guard and patriotic music, 10:30 a.m. at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 5005 Carlisle Road, Dover. Military veterans and those who are currently serving are invited to attend. Military attire is encouraged. Information: 292-5000 .
---DILLSBURG: Free Memorial Day weekend concert by Marie Barlow Martin, 7:30 p.m. at Mount Olivet Campmeeting, 300 Campground Road, off Route 74, Dillsburg. Information: 503-8520.
---ZION VIEW: Patriotic music by the First Capital Brass Quintet, 1:30 p.m., and the annual service with Mayor Kim Bracey as the guest speaker, 2 p.m. Sunday at Quickel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 60 Canal Road Extd., York. A brief graveside service will be conducted afterwards by the Mount Wolf VFW Post 2493. Donations of cut flowers are needed for the graves of veterans Russell Gross and Robert Senft. Information: 266-4179.
---BROGUE: Service in honor of veterans with the Rev. Chester Joines as the guest speaker and a luncheon afterwards, 10 a.m. at Bethel United Methodist Church, 1674 Furnace Road, Brogue.
---DALLASTOWN: Parade, 9 a.m., on Main Street from Park Street to the Union Cemetery. Events organized by American Legion Post 605, Dallastown.
---GETTYSBURG: 144th Annual Memorial Day Parade, 2 p.m., begins at Lefever Street and ends at Soldiers' National Cemetery, where a ceremony will be held at 3 p.m.
---GLEN ROCK: ceremony, 11 a.m., at Trinity Cemetery on Hanover Street; candle light and flag ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. at Austin L. Grove Post 403, American Legion, 4035 Manchester St.
---HANOVER: parade, 8:30 a.m., on Route 94, beginning at Carlisle and Chestnut streets and ending at Mount Olivet Cemetery at 725 Baltimore St.
---MOUNT WOLF/MANCHESTER: parade, at 9 a.m., beginning at Thornton Chevrolet at 180 S. Main St. in Manchester. The parade continues on Main Street, but stops at Union Cemetery on Maple Street, where a memorial service will be held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars monument. The parade continues to Mount Wolf Community Park. Events organized by the Susquehanna VFW Post 2493, Mount Wolf.
---RED LION: Parade, 10 a.m., from Horace Mann Avenue to Fairmount Park, where a Memorial Service will be conducted by the Red Lion American Legion Post 543 and Red Lion VFW Post 1446. In case of extreme weather, the service will be held in the auditorium of Red Lion Area Senior High School. Parade participation: 244-4828.
---YORK CITY: York County Memorial Day celebration with U.S. Army Reserve Col. Craig Trebilcock as the keynote speaker and recognition of local Korean War veterans, 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, 941 Vander Ave. Information: 840-7430.
---YORK CITY: Memorial Day community prayer vigil, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday at Maranatha Church of York, 116 S. West St. The event was founded by Sonya Williams-Tyree, whose son was murdered.
--Reach Lauren Whetzel at 505-5432 or email@example.com.