KOREA VETERANS 299 HOST CONVENTION
The torch has passed to a new generation
of warriors. An estimated 3 million Americans have served or are serving in Korea since the war was paused by a Ceasefire
in 1953. These warriors hosted an outstanding gathering in the Boston area this weekend. It was a fitting venue, probably
containing, as it were, more American history per square inch than any other spot in America.
Approximately 1.3 million Americans served
in Korea during the 1950-53 combat. Many of that number had already served in WWII and were recalled for the UN campaigns
to stop the North Korean invasion of the South Korea.
Today increasing numbers of the veterans
of WWII are leaving our numbers, including many who led in Korea, 1950-54.
Since the Ceasefire--the Korea War continues--twice
as many Americans have served in Korea than did so in 1950-54.
The older Korea veterans sometimes seemed
to take a self-pitying view of their service, frequently approbating the theme The Forgotten War. This puzzles many
who bled in that war--wounds and death are not imaginary nor easily forgotten. Perhaps part of the reason for the attitudes
was the action of the new (then) Department of Defense designating everyone in the military a Korean War veteran, whether
strolling the streets and fleshpots of Paris, Munich, New York, San Francisco or anywhere else in the world, 1950-54--around
5 million of them versus the 1.5 million who actually faced death in mortal combat--rear-echeloned bureaucrats in Washington,
DC notwithstanding--bureaucrats pet, pamper, protect, and promote other bureaucrats as a primary order of business,
is that the sunlight is fading for the soldiers
of 1950-54, the victors of the first ground combat action of the Cold War. Some have asserted that because of the successful
resistance in Korea, 1950-54, freedom was the final winner of the Cold War, 1991.
The REAL forgotten warriors of Korea
are the actual 3 to 5 million Americans who
have served in Korea, with casualties, decorations, awards, and periodic combat/hazardous duty pay, day and night, freezing
and broiling, shot at and frequently wounded or killed for the past 57 years. Many of that number also served either before
or after their Korea tour(s) in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Dominican Republic, the Balkans, the Middle East, Desert Storm,
and the Global War on Terror.
President John F Kennedy, of Massachusetts, declared on January 20, 1961,
"the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans." Had he been present this weekend in Boston as the Korea
Veterans of America (299) hosted and presented an outstanding convention, he might have again noted, as a much older veteran,
a significant passing of the torch once more. Thank you, 299. God bless America.
Louis T Dechert,