The Korean War was short compared to the wars of the past. It lasted from 1950-1953. The United Nations coalition which was U.S. dominated, came to the aid of S. Korea when they were invaded by N. Korea (who happened to be aided by Russia and China). The Korean penisula was a Japanese possession from 1910 to 1945. After WWII, Russia oversaw the surrender of Japanese forces north of the 38th parallel in Korea while the U.S. supervised the surrender in the south. After Russia and America established a joint commission to form a Korean government, these two countries disagreed on the legitimacy of the competing political groups that sought to govern Korea. In 1947, the U.S. asked the U.N. to try to unite the two halves of Korea. The 38th parallel suddenly became the line that divided the north and the south. The north became communist and the south became known as an agricultural area that was dependant on U.S. aid. In 1949 the Soviets and Americans withdrew their troops, but small advisary groups became increasingly hostile. On June 25, 1950 the first shots of artillary were fired and thirty minutes later 80,000 N. Korean troops invaded S. Korea. When the U.N. asked that the troops be removed, N. Korea ignored the request. On June 27, the U.N. decided that U.N. members should help the S. Koreans. On that same day, President Truman without a congressional declaration of war committed our military supplies to S. Korea.
On July 27, 1953 an armistice was signed and the war was over, but not before 23,000 American soldiers were killed. In a containment policy developed by Dean Acheson, formulated by George F. Kennan and advanced by John Foster Dulles, the policy helped get the U.S. involved in the Vietnam War.
In Washington D.C. we now have a Korean War Veterans Memorial acknowledging the men and women who served in what some call "The Forgotten War". It may be forgotten to some, but for the soldiers who served honorably, it will never be forgotten. This author recognizes those soldiers with respect and reverence.
The Korean War Memorial span 2.2 acres of the National Mall in Washington D.C. Nineteen stainless steel statutes (7'3" - 7'6" tall), each weighing nearly 1000 pounds, represent personnel from all services who fought the war. There are 14 Army soldiers, 3 Marines, 1 Navy medic and 1 Air Force Forward Air Observer comprised of all ethnic derivations. Low growth juniper bushes at their feet and the granite 'dikes' lying across the Patrols path suggest the rice paddy terrain so familiar to Korea. The Mural Wall spanning 164 feet is highly polished dark gray granite weighing more than 100 tons. More than 2400 photographic images of land, sea and air support troops of all services and ethnic derivations are laser etched into the wall. The Pool is 30 feet in diameter, surrounded with highly reflective dark gray granite. The Reflecting Wall adjacent to the pool is engraved with the powerful inscription: "Freedom Is Not Free".
Click on the Memorial picture to your left, to go to the official Korean War Memorial Home Page.