The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 20, 2013

Belated respect, appreciation | Korean War vets feted at dinner

— Korean War veterans in Cambria and Somerset counties are forgotten no more.

While it can’t come close to making up for the fact that their sacrifices were too often ignored over the past 60 years, last week’s dinner in Johnstown honoring local Korean War veterans was a step in the right direction.

The fighting six decades ago, between the communist North Korea and the United Nations-backed South Korea raged for three years and claimed nearly 35,000 American lives and resulted in 100,000 U.S. casualties. Yet, for years, it was described as the “Korean Conflict” because war was not officially declared.

But the men and women who so bravely fought to stem the tide of communism in the Korean Peninsula need to be remembered for their heroic deeds.

“It was a stalemate on the map, but what we have come to realize in the 60 years that has transpired is what a remarkable victory it was,” said Col David J. Clark, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Korean War commemoration committee.

“It gave the people of South Korea an opportunity to install a free and democratic country of their own,” Clark told our Frank Sojak. “It allowed the country to become one of the economic giants of the world and the staunchest ally of the United States in Northeast Asia.”

The importance of that has been reflected even more in recent months as North Korea continues its saber rattling. Sadly, the outcome wasn’t celebrated when the veterans returned home.

“Nobody ever told them thank you or that they served honorably when, in fact, their service was during some of the worst fighting that our nation has seen, in some of the worst terrain and in some of the worst climate,” Marine Corps Maj. Guillermo Canedo said.

That’s a shame. And it can’t be rectified by praise that is coming 60 years too late.

But, it is a start. Thank you, Korean War veterans. Your sacrifice and service to our country is greatly appreciated.

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