My father died in October 2007. He served in the U.S.Army in Korea c.1950-1952. He didn’t talk much about his service. Just how cold it was and that one finger was hamburger and he had to be careful when it was really cold because he couldn’t feel it.
My father was an alcoholic. He started drinking regularly when I was 7 or 8 and he never stopped. I hadn’t heard from him in 15 years when he died. But he was my father and he served his country. I went to his service at the Veteran’s cemetary in Bourne, Massachusetts, where I was presented with a flag.
History is fascinating to me, particularly American history and those events which protect the freedoms we enjoy. Korea is not so much history as ongoing news. Maybe that is part of the fascination. North Korea is the top country in the world for persecution of its citizens. There is no freedom of religion or freedom of speech in North Korea and relations with countries in the free world are strained. North Korea operates under communism.
It matters not whether the battles were won, or there are onsite monuments to those who fought. The Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC is a moving sight. What matters is that Americans were willing to sacrifice themselves to guarantee the protection of its own freedoms and that those are still intact.
To stand on a hillside or cross a river or be in a valley where those soldiers ate and slept and lost fingers and lives and carried their buddies out and protected and fought for freedom — that is monument enough. Gettysburg and Concord and Lexington and Bunker Hill and others are places on American soil where one may do that. And curiosity may lead us to Korea when more information is gained.
Do the next thing. Preserve the history. Respect those who serve and have served. Remember. Keep on defending and preserving our heritage of freedom and those whom we love. The Korean War Project (kwp.org) is a place to start, to look for others who served in the same unit, to find families with equal curiosity.