60 Years Ago Today, the Korean War Began

I just opened Friday’s New York Times, it has a few short articles about the Korean War to commemorate the Sixtieth Anniversary. Obviously it come on the heels of all those Sixtieth Anniversaries of World War II events leading up to the VE Day parades. After sixty years you cannot really expect many vets to be around. Another group of boys have somehow become old men and soon they will be gone.

Thank God for what they did. Thank God our generations has been spared their burdens.

My Uncle fought in Korea. He is still kicking but I see what you mean- they aren’t young men anymore.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but the Korean War seems to have become an area of interest again in recent years. Gran Turino features Clint Eastwood as a gruff Korean War veteran, and Phillip Roth’s Indignation deals with the tribulations of a young man at the time of that war. Granted these are only two examples. It is strange that that war had so many casualties and is still within living memory but is now largely forgotten.

It was written about another war but seems apt

I walked from Ypres to Passchendale
In the first gray days of spring
Through flatland fields where life goes on
And carefree children sing
Round rows of ancient tombstones
Where a generation lies
And at last I understood
Why old men cry

From Why Old Men Cry by Dick Gaughan.

TCM is airing a marathon of Korean War movies today.

My dad was in the Korean war - he’s around 75, and celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary next weekend!!

I was going to ask why I thought the Korean war happened in the 1950s, and then I realized the 1950s were 60 years ago! Wow.

Suicide is painless.

The father of a good friend of mine served during the Korean War. He told us about the last day of the war - the day the cease-fire went into effect at midnight. The artillery folks apparently didn’t want to carry back any excess ammo, so they were trying to fire off as much as they could before midnight. He said the infantry just hunkered down in their holes and waited. At midnight, the noise stopped. He said it was the spookiest silence he ever experienced.

My father joined the US Navy during the Korean War to avoid getting drafted into the Army. He never went to Korea, but ended up serving in the Sixth Fleet when it was stationed in the Mediterranean. He turned 75 this year.

The weird thing is how much art the Korean War did not inspire. I guess some wars are “art wars” (Vietnam, WWI) and some aren’t. (WWII didn’t produce nearly the breadth, depth, and content of those two wars, despite being huge and lasting a long time.) My dad was in the Navy for Korea, and even he hadn’t heard of any of those movies they showed Thursday. Didn’t particularly care for any of them either.

I was surprised at how much I liked the monument on the Mall when I saw it - most of the new ones are soulless and awful (WWII, I’m talking to you) but the statues for Korea are amazing and fantastic. The wall is too derivative of the Vietnam monument, though - they should have stuck with the statues.

My Mom and Dad were in the Gaspe on vacation. Neither of them spoke french. They were wondering what all the fuss was. When they got back to Dad’s duty station, he got yelled at for missing movement … they couldn’t be reached to call him back, and they had no idea that the war had started. :smack: :smiley:

When the various TV outlets began bringing up Korea in time for this anniversary, I couldn’t help but thinking how closethis guy got to making it to the anniversary. I had the privilege of writing one the official resolutions of condolences from the PR legislature upon his passing. Of course, I also had two Korea vets very close to me, my mother’s late second husband was a front line NCO with the 65th as well, and my father lucked out and the shooting had stopped before he sailed with his unit as a fresh recruit.

It is interesting to me that there is any mention of it at all. I spent three years in the Army during the Korean War (called a “police action”) but was fortunate enough to be stationed in Japan in an Army Hospital. It was the next stop after patients got out of the MASH unit. It was a 250-bed hospital, and we had more than 2,000 patients.

All these many years we vets called it “The Forgotten War” as nobody ever seemed to know anything about it, even though more than 33,000 men were killed. They fought in horrible circumstances, bitter cold, lack of supplies, etc. Most of all, I found none of the wounded young men even had a clue as to what the hell we were doing over there.

And, I was also in the tail end of WWII. Yeah, I’m really old (83 in Aug).

Ah well,so it goes.

Yeah, my dad still can’t really tell you why exactly he was over there fighting the Korean War. The funny thing is, neither can I, because I’ve never had a history class that managed to get past World War II. I can give you infinitely more information about the War of Jenkin’s Ear.

My grandfather just passed away. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

His main story was about debriefing US POWs that escaped after all the prisoners were supposedly exchanged.