Remembering Korea- Letter to the Editor
To the Editor,
Fifty eight years ago, on Sunday, June 28, ninety thousand North Koreans pushed across the 38th parallel in Korea and drove South. Before the conflict ended 37 months later, 103,200 Americans would be wounded and more than 54,000 killed. Records indicate that 502 Kansans were killed and another 103 are missing in action (289 Korean Veterans are buried at the Fort Scott National Cemetery).
Two Kansans received the congressional medal of honor. There are still 8,177 Americans missing in action. In comparison, during the six year Vietnam war 57,900 Americans were killed and 2,480 reported as missing in action.
Korea was a strange war in a strange land. A war, Generals said we should never fight, a ground war on the Asian main land against the Chinese Communists.
During the first 16-18 months, the war was a dashing event, at least until the snow came. It was a war of moving tanks, troops and planes up and down the peninsula.
Seoul, the capitol, was fought over and changed hands four times. By late 1951, the MLR ( Military Line of Resistance) had stabilized, partly from exhaustion and cold, and partly because the truce talks occasionally flickered into promise.
Korea was fought mostly by infantry men with M-1 rifles, motors and grenades. They lived underground in sand bagged bunkers and stood watch in trenches.
The "Forgotten War" ended MacArthurs career, helped elect Ike and there are still men lying around in Veterans hospitals and nursing homes today who were broken by Korea. Until the peace treaty was signed in July 1953, the war was one of trench warfare, ambushes and patrols. Men who fought in France in 1917 and Lee and Grants men would have understood Korea.
The only connection younger Americans seem to make with the Korean War comes from watching re-runs of M.A.S.H. There was no great fan-fair, little coverage on the news media, one or two movies at the most.
Most Veterans remember Korea because of it's harsh, bitter cold winters, c-rations, hills and major out post battles -- Vegar, Reno, Kay Gee Valley and Yong Dong Po. Names that mean nothing now -- only to those who fought there. However, family and friends of those who served in the "Forgotten" war, still remember.
Once in awhile we should remind our selves that "freedom is not free."