GREATER WASHINGTON AREA (WDVM) — June 25 marks the 71st anniversary of the Korean War, also known as the “Forgotten War”.
Sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War, it was overshadowed as a “conventional war,” according to Curtis Morgan, Professor of History at Lord Fairfax Community College.
“I find it ironic that the war is so forgotten because it is the closest that the world ever came to world war three, and, and the use of atomic weapons,” Morgan said. “It’s really the only time after world war two that we leaders. Seriously contemplated using atomic weapons to try to change the state of play.”
In fact, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was built in 1995, more than 10 years after the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — even though the Korean War ended 22 years prior. Jim Fisher, executive director of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, says his organization is working to get a wall of names to remember the fallen soldiers.
“The original design had a little wall of names for, but the united states congress said, ‘No we don’t want to become a city full of names.’ so we’re going to compromise, we’ll give you the reflecting pool, and the field of service and the mural wall, but it was in the original legislation that we have a wallet remembrance,” Fisher said. “So after 25 years, we decided to resurrect that legislation.”
His foundation honored veterans during a ceremony at the Korean War veterans memorial in Washington D.C. early Friday morning. The band played the South Korean national anthem “Aeguka.”
When asked what some ways are to honor the soldiers who fought in this war, Fisher said, “Basically to approach them and say thank you for your service. They do appreciate it because they never were welcomed home, and we conduct events at the memorial that specifically thank and honor them like today.”
Steve Lee, President of the Korean American Association of Washington Metropolitan Area, hopes to represent the voices of Korean Americans living in the area.
“The day that Korea became divided,” Lee said. “The day that a lot of families have been divided as well. And today that started the threat continuously for 71 years.”
While South Korea prospered post-war, he hopes one day North and South Korea will peacefully reunite.
“It’s got to be happening but longer we’re apart. Further, we will be coming together because we’re now 771 years. That’s a long time,” he said.
His association hosts the Korean U.S. Festival also known as KORUS in September. This year, for the first time, the KORUS festival will be held not just in Virginia but in Maryland as well and will feature an AAPI honoring ceremony.