The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 16, 2013

Event honors Korean War vets

JOHNSTOWN — Thanks to the Korean War veteran, the tide of communism on the Korean Peninsula was stopped with a free South Korea able to become one of the world’s economic giants, an Army colonel told hundreds of Korean War veterans and guests on Thursday in Johnstown.

The veterans were honored at a dinner and reception at the Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.

“The veterans were not concerned about the politics of the day,” said Col. David J. Clark, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Korean War commemoration committee, in an interview before the dinner.

“They just responded because it was their duty as an American to serve. They acquitted themselves well. They fought bravely and stemmed the tide of communism on the Korean Peninsula.”

When the war ended in 1953, the jury was still out on whether the war was a success, he said.

“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” Clark said.

“It gave the people of South Korea an opportunity to install a free and democratic country of their own. 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 dinners, being held across the country, are a way for the Department of Defense to thank the Korean War veterans for those accomplishments, he said.

Marine Corps Maj. Guillermo Canedo, also a member of the commemoration committee, said it’s important to honor the Korean War veterans because the veterans did not receive the thanks they deserved from the public upon returning 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.”

Also in Johnstown to honor the veterans was Lt. Col. Kang Moonho of the South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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