By Becky Bechtel, NFRW Armed Services Committee
July 27 is the day set aside to remind all Americans of those who served and died in the Korean War, often called the Forgotten War.
As the daughter of a father who served in this conflict, this day is especially important to me. He was one of over 1.8 million men and women who served in the Korean War, where 36,577 Americans died. To emphasize how deadly the war was: my father was in a unit of 140 soldiers who went into a battle where only 30 of them came out alive. My dad was carrying a cigarette lighter in his pocket during that battle and referred to that lighter as his “lucky lighter” all of the days of his life.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Korean War Armistice on July 27, 1953, after over three years of conflict. The war started on June 25, 1950, when North Korea rolled its tanks across the 38th parallel into South Korea. This communist assault pushed both South Korean and American troops back to just short of the Sea of Japan. Eventually, 21 countries formed a United Nations force that pushed the North Koreans back into their own country, capturing Pyongyang. Shortly after, the Chinese Army surprised the American and South Korean forces, resulting in a large loss of life. All of this happened within the first four months of war. After what eventually became a stalemate, peace talks started. Two and a half years later, an agreement was reached and there was a cease-fire.
Each year, the President of the United States issues a proclamation. In 2020, President Donald Trump issued this proclamation:
“We will always remember the immeasurable cost incurred by those who fought on the Korean Peninsula. The bravery, tenacity, and selflessness of our veterans liberated the oppressed, brought peace and prosperity to a freedom-loving people, and helped forge our unshakable bonds with the Republic of Korea.”
As members of the National Federation of Republican Women, we salute these veterans and the families of those who not only served, but also made the ultimate sacrifice against communism.