It was an awful war, as all wars are. It was one that friends, neighbors and family members went across the wide Pacific to land they knew nothing of and for a people that were no better known to them. It was mission under the flag of the United Nations. But unfortunately, the Americans serving in this “police action” bore much of the cost of the United Nations military.
Why was the Korean War fought? Let’s have a little history lesson. In November 1947, the UN approved elections to be held throughout Korea to choose provisional government for the entire country. It was opposed by the Soviet Union.
In May 1948, the people of South Korea elected the national assembly for the Republic of Korea. In September 1948, the North Korean Communists established the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Troops from both countries fought near the 38th parallel. U.S. troops who had been in South Korea were pulled out in 1949.
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army invaded the territory of South Korea. Thus began the Korean War. The UN Security Council denounced the actions. On June 30, 1950, President Harry Truman ordered ground troops into action.
A number of cease-fires and truces were attempted but came to nought. Until the truce in July 1963, a truce that holds the distinction of the fact that one side (North Korea) did not sign it.
Thus the outcome is that both countries have the same border they had before this began, the abhorrent fact of this struggle is the costs of lives given to come back where they started from.
The United States provided 90 percent of the troops, spent $67 million and the truce talks lasted two years and 17 days.
These are the numbers of those who bled and died and have not yet been found and identified. Killed in Action, 33,739; non-combat deaths, 2,835; wounded in action, 103,264; still missing in action, more than 7,500.
Effingham County lost four men in the war, one of whom was long listed as missing and finally declared dead. They are: William Fulton, Jr., Guyton; Amos Louie Kight, Springfield; Fred Brinson Rountree, Egypt; and James E. Walsh, Springfield. There were some 500 service men and women serving in the military during the Korean War.
Say a prayer for the families of these, who were lost, and thank those who served and were able to come home. Join your friends and neighbors at the Veterans Park for a “Remembering Korea” program on Monday, November 11, at 11 a.m.
Veterans Park Board of Directors