Charlie Frost, a native of Middlesboro, was only 17 when he was forced to go on one of the deadliest marches in history.
Frost, along with hundreds of American soldiers, missionaries, nuns and diplomats were herded together and forced to make a 120-mile trek along a snowy route known as the Tiger Death March.
Frost and another young prisoner of war from Kentucky named Jack Browning were two of only 262 survivors of the march. For decades their efforts were essentially ignored by the United States, but finally, last year, they were honored for injuries sustained in the war.
Frost and Browning were awarded the Purple Heart medal earlier this year in a special ceremony in the Kentucky House of Representatives. President George W. Bush authorized the awards in 2002.
Now, Nelson and Representative Mike Weaver, a retired Army Colonel, are co-sponsoring legislation that would honor Frost in another way it would make him a high school graduate.
"Mr. Frost left high school to take up arms and protect this great nation of ours," said Nelson. "It is our responsibility to thank him for that sacrifice."
House Bill 113, filed by Weaver and co-sponsored by Nelson, would require local school boards to award high school diplomas to certain honorably discharged Korean War veterans. It is similar to a 2002 law that requires the state to award high school diplomas to World War II veterans who were enrolled in, but did not complete, high school before leaving for Armed Forces service.
Harlan County held a graduation ceremony last year for World War II veterans who received their diplomas under the 2002 law.
"The ceremony was very impressive," Nelson said. "I believe our Korean War veterans deserve the same honor for the sacrifices they made in wartime."
The bill is now under consideration by the House Seniors, Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee during the current 2004 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
"Young men like Charles Frost who left home to serve their country deserve this honor there are no others more deserving," Nelson said.