Sadly in our country, most people have forgotten. In fact, the Korean War is often referred to as “The Forgotten War.”
We must not forget. We must remember the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served in the Korean War, especially those who lost their lives.
“I’m really not worried about it (being recognized or honored),” local veteran Bob McIntyre said. “But there were those who did not come back and who were wounded. They should be recognized.”
McIntyre served 18 months in Korea from 1951-53 with the 10th Corps Headquarters near the 38th Parallel, the border between North and South Korea. He served as a driver for Gen. I.D. White.
McIntyre does have a sense of pride for having served but doesn’t feel the need for recognition.
“I wasn’t bothered by it (the war being referred to as ‘The Forgotten War’),” he said. “When we returned, it was not a welcome like today, we got off the boat and went on.”
Another aspect of the war that he is proud of is the way South Korea’s economy developed after the war. South Korea’s economy grew to one of the largest economies in the world, ranking in the top 15 in the world with a gross domestic product of more than $1 trillion.
“I probably would not recognize it,” he said. “South Korea is very progressive. North Korea never got out of the 1950s. Americans played a part in it.”
Personally, McIntyre also said he was very appreciative of the G.I. Bill after the war.
“The G.I. Bill was a big help to me,” he said.
Some Korean War facts and figures:
— The Korean War began June 25, 1950, and continued until an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. An official peace treaty was never signed. American troops are still stationed in the Korean Demilitarized Zone along the 38th Parallel. There have been numerous incidents and skirmishes along the DMZ from 1953 to the present.
— The beginning of racial integration in the U.S. military began in the Korean War.
— In addition to the United States and South Korea, other countries that supplied combat troops under the United Nations included Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Phillipines, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. The nations of Denmark, India, Italy, Norway and Sweden provided medical services. Enemy forces included North Korea and China with support from the Soviet Union.
— Some major battles during the Korean War included the Chosin Reservoir (November-December 1950), Heartbreak Ridge (September-October 1951), Inchon (September 1950), Pork Chop Hill (March-July 1953) and the Pusan Perimeter (August-September 1950).
For more information about the Korean War, visit the Korean War Project website www.koreanwar.org and websites korean-war.com, http://koreacoldwar.org/.
For more information about the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, visit http://www.nps.gov/kowa/index.htm.
Anthony Rhoads is assistant managing editor of The Griffin Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com.