Lest we forget

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last week’s 70th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor reminded us of a war that’s become known as The Forgotten War or The Unknown War.

But for those who fought in the Korean War, referring to that war as The Forgotten War or The Unknown War is a dishonor to their service. To this day, some people still refer to the Korean War as a “police action.” It was war — there is no other word for it.

The war began June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Many people consider it the first significant armed conflict in the Cold War. The United States of America supports South Korea. China supported North Korea.

The active stage of the war concluded when an armistice was signed July 27, 1953.

The U.S. suffered 33,686 battle deaths and 2,830 nonbattle deaths during the war, according to the U.S. Defense Department. The number of missing-in-action personnel was put at 8,176.

How can a war that produced those casualties and many more deaths, wounded personnel and missing-in-action personnel on all sides ever become a “forgotten” war? How can a war in which military personnel, including the 1st Marine Division, faced not only enemy bullets but also freezing weather at places such as the Chosin Reservoir be referred to as a “forgotten” war?

It’s extremely unlikely that any U.S. veteran who fought in Korea will forget they fought in that war. Referring to the Korean War as The Forgotten War or The Unknown War is an insult to those who fought in that war, whether they were killed, wounded, went missing or came home whole. The deaths, wounds and sacrifices of U.S. military personnel in the Korean War are no less deserving of remembrance than those suffered in other wars involving Americans.

It’s a shame the Korean War ever became known as The Forgotten War.

How dare we let those sacrifices at Chosin Reservoir and Inchon be forgotten.