Friday, May 20, 2016

Remembering the Korean 'Conflict' ... America's Still the Greatest

When attending elementary school in the early 1950's, we'd often play 'war' during recess and lunch time.

Often our play involved the then ongoing Korean War or Korean 'Conflict,' which was the more politically correct term sometimes used.

Notable & Quotable: Korea is subtitled 'If the U.S. had not come to the aid of the Korean people, or if we in the South had lost the war, I would not be standing here.'

For me the story brings back strong childhood memories of that long ago time. It also reminds me why America then was and still is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

"From remarks by Kwon Oh-joon, chief executive officer of the South Korean steel manufacturer Posco, on receiving the Korea Society’s Van Fleet Award, named for U.S. Army Gen. James A. Van Fleet, in New York City, May 18:

During the Korean War, Gen. James Van Fleet brought not only an exceptional military record but also leadership of great stature with the highest ideals. He courageously commanded the U.N. troops at the very forefront during the Korean War, with the steadfast goals of defending the people of the Republic of Korea and preserving democracy on the Korean Peninsula.

His own son, Lt. James Van Fleet Jr., also volunteered as a combat pilot but tragically went missing in action during his mission near the Yalu River. Gen. Van Fleet suspended the search-and-rescue operations for his son out of concern for putting additional soldiers’ lives at risk.

Although his son James never made it back home, his noble spirit of self-sacrifice will be remembered forever by those of us with any connection to the Korean War conflict.

In fact, this is the story I read in the social-studies book when I was in the fifth grade in elementary school. That was also my first encounter with Gen. Van Fleet. The name of Gen. Van Fleet has remained embedded in the hearts and in the minds of the Korean people, symbolizing the strong bonds . . . between our two nations.

In today’s modern era where self-centered egoism is often the generally accepted norm, James Van Fleet’s legacy of bravery and sacrifice continues to serve as a valuable moral lesson for today’s young generation of Koreans.

Tomorrow, I will be traveling to Washington, D.C., to visit Arlington National Cemetery and pay homage and tribute to Gen. James Van Fleet and the fallen soldiers who gave their lives on Korean soil.

On a personal note, I was born just 20 days before the outbreak of the Korean War, in a small town in South Korea. One of the fiercest battles in modern history was recorded near the Nakdong River close to my hometown, and this battle forced my family to evacuate southwards. The evacuation trail stretched 200 kilometers or 125 miles, and my parents had a hard time carrying a 20-day-old newborn baby enwrapped in blankets.

I still recall, when I was studying metallurgical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh some 40 years ago, how fortunate and privileged I felt to have the opportunity to come to the United States to further pursue my studies and career ambitions. If the U.S. had not come to the aid of the Korean people, or if we in the South had lost the war, I would not be standing here."

Summing Up

By the way, the Korean War came just a few short years after America had successfully led the world's fight for freedom in World War II.

That's why lots of younger people aren't familiar with what happened in Korea.

And that's also why today many of us oldsters shake our heads in amazement at young America's movement to embrace Bernie Sanders, Hillary and socialism ---- and President Obama's 'stay-out-of-it' stance and the Donald's 'go-it-alone' isolationism.

Meanwhile, ISIS marches onward and North Korea does the unthinkable to its citizens.

God Bless America.

Thanks. Bob.

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