Korean War vets gathered to rememberLabel ‘The Forgotten War’ doesn’t sit well with the people who served.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
It’s been 58 years since the end of the Korean War, but for many veterans, the emotional resonance still echoes.
“They call it ‘The Forgotten War.’ That really irritates the Korean War veterans,” said Robert Hill, former commander of the Brookings chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. “They felt more like the Vietnam veterans. They were left out.”
Saturday, approximately 80 Korean War veterans from across the state gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Mitchell to exchange stories and look at Hill’s extensive collection of Korean War memorabilia.
Darwin Buus, former commander of the Mitchell VFW, was on an aircraft carrier outside of the Korean Peninsula during the war, which lasted from June 25, 1950, to July 1953, although the peninsula could still be considered an active war zone because of the presence of troops along both sides of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Although the post hosts a gathering for Korean War vets three times a year, Saturday was special for a number of reasons.
The gathering was the first in which Hill brought his Korean War memorabilia. Hill, a 20-year Army veteran, has a collection of rifles, clothing, photos and other items that he was happy to share with fellow veterans.
Saturday was also special for the gathering as Mitchell Mayor Lou Sebert signed a proclamation earlier in the week declaring Saturday as Korean War Day in Mitchell.
Buus said the event, which has never drawn more than 40 people, was well received.
“Everybody was real happy with it,” Buus said. “Everything that we did (Saturday) was praised.”
The event featured some powerful moments. Hill said he was particularly moved by a man who told of being captured during the conflict.
“Sometimes those guys hold it in. He loosened up and talked about it,” Hill said. “It was an honor just to meet a guy like that.”