This past week has proven to be quite interesting for me. Over the weekend the nation took a little time to remember the brave men and women of the United States military who served in the Korean War, "The Forgotten War." On June 27, 1953 the hostilities officially ended and our folks were allowed to come back home and restart their lives. Sixty years have passed and most of those who fought there have died. While there still is a US presence in South Korea that alone is the reason the North Korean Communists haven't taken control below the 38th Parallel.
My father had finished his duties with the Marine Corps in the South Pacific, having served from early 1942 until the final atomic bomb caused the surrender of the Japanese Imperial government in 1945. Dad had been at Iwo Jima, Tinian, Guadalcanal, and other horrific battles and was happy to remain in the Marine Corps Reserves after the war ended - because the money helped the family budget.
Then the Korean Conflict began and the reserves were called up so gunnery sergeant Atwood went off to Korea. One place he went made him a part of a group known as "The Frozen Chosin" for those 30,000 men were surrounded by 67,000 Communist Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir from Nov. 27, 1950 until Dec. 13. During those 16 days 1,029 guys breathed their last and more than 4,000 were injured. They did it for our freedom.
During the Korean War 33,686 Americans died in battle and another 2,830 died in non-battle incidents. They all died for our freedom. My dad's feet were scarred the rest of his life because his feet froze to his socks and shoes in the snow. A man who is like an uncle to me, Earl Midkiff, lost one hand and a couple of fingers on the other as a result of a hand grenade. All done for our freedom. How can we ever forget the Korean War?
During the past ten days I was delighted to welcome into our home two young men from China who were here as part of the exchange program. A friend from church was hosting the boys and she brought them over to Bass Lake. We had shared ice cream earlier in the week and we spent some time driving my Model A around the lake. Two boys from a Communist country riding around in a Model A with the son of a Veteran discussing the differences between our two nations, governments, and cultures. I did not mention it to them but I did wonder if some of their ancestors had fought against my dad in Korea.
I shared with them about the joys of living with freedom and our liberty. They wanted to talk about our First Amendment and Second Amendment Rights as well as other aspects of American life. They mentioned that their government unplugged Google and that limits information.
During this past week I have also looked at what is going on with our government. Our leaders are trying to take control over more and more aspects of our lives. It seemed natural to remember my dad and his buddies, especially the ones I never met because they died in battles for my freedom. I wondered what they would think about their sacrifice given that our leaders have routinely ignored the laws as laid out in the Constitution.
I don't think they could have ever imagined that the government would search each law abiding citizen before boarding a plane. I can't imagine that they would have understood that a Cross would be seen as offensive or a prayer offered at a memorial service of a Veteran being banned by the government. They would have scoffed at the idea that anyone would question the right of a citizen to carry a weapon for protection, or that the government would not send in military support to help defend an Embassy under attack or ignore the pleas for help from those defending that Embassy.
Those who died in Korea probably would shudder to think they gave the "last full measure of devotion" so that a President or his Attorney General could thumb their noses at the Constitution and rule by dictate under the term Executive Order.
Those who served and especially those injured, missing in action, or killed were willing to stand the watch to preserve the way of life we enjoy under the protection of the Constitution. They paid the price to give us the liberties we enjoy and that those two boys from China could only wish to enjoy.
Apparently what has really been forgotten about the Korean War was what the fight was all about. The troops were fighting to preserve liberty and justice against a government that believes in acting as tyrants.
To the Korean Veterans in our area Thank you for your service and sacrifice and trust me that freedom loving folks will never forget what you did. More importantly; we won't forget why you did it.