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Heroes hidden

September 14, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Patrick Sheahan’s resting place in Kerry.

The website dedicated to Irish hero soldiers who died in U.S. uniform in the Korean War has been obscured by web-related advertising.

And nobody can explain how, or why.

The website was established after the long but ultimately successful campaign to bestow posthumous U.S. citizenship on 28 young men who fought and died in the 1950-53 conflict dubbed the “Forgotten War.”

Now it is their memory that could be forgotten as the website in smothered by an ad that pops up seconds after viewers are given a tantalizing glimpse of the photos and histories of the men who served in the U.S. Army and Marines.

The site, which was largely the work of the late Brian McGinn, also includes the stories of Irish missionary priests in Korea and Irish who served in Vietnam.

One of the soldiers now hidden by the ads is Corporal Patrick Sheahan from County Kerry. Sheahan was one of the Korea heroes made a posthumous citizen at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in October, 2003.

And he was a hero in every sense of the word. He won the Bronze Star and later Silver Star and a new campaign is now underway in an effort to secure him the Congressional Medal of Honor.

As it currently stands, more of Sheahan’s life and death on a battle-blasted Korean hillside can be gleaned from his gravestone in Kerry.

The website address is www.illyria.com but quickly changes to irishinkorea.org. Momentarily, it looks like a match between address and content as there is a heading atop the screen of “Irish Korean War Dead.”

But what then flashes on below is a page covered by a series of ads for web hosting services. This extends to a second page at the bottom of which there is a copyright notation stating “2011 Irish Korean War Dead.” Three small ads, which change at periodic intervals, are also visible at the top left corner of the first page.

A number of people familiar with the site and who have opened it up recently have expressed shock at the changes.

John Leahy, A Kerry native and Korean War veteran who led the posthumous citizenship campaign, said he was absolutely mystified by the changes to the site.

“I can’t believe what I’m looking at,” Leahy told the Echo.

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