Korean War veterans come together
July 10, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Members of the Redstone Arsenal community took time to remind Korean War veterans that they will never be forgotten.
The Legacy 4 Korean War Veterans Foundation hosted the seventh annual luncheon honoring Korean War veterans June 25 at The Summit.
The event gave members of the Redstone Arsenal community an opportunity to show their support for veterans and family members of the war that began 63 years ago on June 25, 1950, with a cease fire agreement ending the conflict July 27, 1953.
"It's a privilege to be here with you today to honor our Korean War veterans," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. "Today, we're gathering to commemorate a historic event and your service to our nation during the Korean War. Sixty-three years ago today, the Korean War began. Significantly, this invasion was the first military action of the Cold War and by July of that year, American troops had entered the war on South Korea's behalf.
"For the U.S., it was considered a war against the forces of international communism," he continued. "This war against communism, labeled by the U.N. as a 'police action,' was a full-fledged commitment by many nations. More than 1.5 million U.S. service members deployed to Korea over the course of the three-year war; with 19 other countries providing nearly 40,000 troops.
"We all know the rest of the story, three years of fighting back and forth across the 38th parallel, while casualties mounted. There were 33,627 troops who died in battle, and today we honor the memory of those who served in that war, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice," Formica added.
Formica spoke about all those who have sacrificed since the nation's beginning and reminded the audience of the great price that has been paid by veterans who have served to keep America free.
"Since the birth of our nation, tragically more than 1.2 million men and women in uniform have died to defend our country," Formica said. "Each of those service members left loved ones behind -- a surviving spouse, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and friends. Every one of you here today has or probably knows someone who has lost a loved one in service to our nation. We honor their service and their sacrifice.
"Our veterans are an integral element of the fabric of our society," he added. "We are thankful for their service and so pleased with their continued involvement in our lives. To all of our veterans here today -- in particular, our Korean War veterans, thank you for your service."
During the event, members from across the installation honored the veterans and recognized not only their selfless service to America, but also their bravery in defending a country located half-way around the world.
One Korean War veteran said events like these were great and showed that people care and appreciate the sacrifices he and his comrades made more than 60 years ago.
"Today has been a wonderful thing," said Haskel Ward, an Army veteran who served with the 1343rd Combat Engineer Battalion. "I think this is the most wonderful thing I have been to. I came once before, and it was as great today as it was then. Everything was wonderful and I would like to ask those who weren't here this time to join us for the next one. I promise you won't be disappointed."
Another veteran thanked everyone for coming out and showing their support to him and his fellow brothers and sisters who served in Korea.
"Today's event was superb. I enjoyed every minute of it," said William P. Price, an Air Force veteran who was awarded the Silver Star while serving with the 3rd Air Rescue Squadron in Korea. "This is one of the greatest things that has ever happened for us. It is known as the forgotten war, and you don't hear much about it except on occasions like this. But to be recognized on days like today is a great thing.
"I don't know how to put today into words," he added. "For those who weren't here, they missed a blessing. They missed the fellowship of our fellow Korean War veterans, and I hope more of them can come next time. Thank you Redstone Arsenal, and God bless America."