In order to honor those brave men and woman who served in what is often referred to as the “forgotten war,” VFW Post 2591 in Sedalia will host a Korean War Veteran Recognition Day starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Post Annex, located at 121 S. Ohio Ave.
“I think it is important that we say thank you,” said Gary Gill, VFW member and former post commander. “I have the philosophy that we honor our dead by recognizing our living and that is what we will do on Saturday. We will honor our dead and recognize our living.”
More than 36,000 Americans lost their lives, more than 7,000 went missing and nearly 100,000 were wounded in the Korean War, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Korean casualties vary by source from 115,000 to 380,000. Recent scholars put the combined death, missing and injured toll of the conflict at 1.2 million.
It’s a seemingly high number of lives lost to be “forgotten.” However, as the U.S. shortly thereafter fought a long and bloody war in Vietnam, followed by Desert Storm, 50-year commemorations of WWII, and other conflicts, the public and mainstream media often forgot the Korean War and the men and women who fought it.
“With the sacrifices that were made, that’s very poignant individually and to individual families but I guess coming out of World War II and into the ’50s and ’60s, it got pushed off the table. It was very much overshadowed by WWII and the discourse of the ’60s,” Gill said.
During the event, which is open to the public as well as veterans, the VFW will host the Posting of Colors, recognize those who served and host a veteran’s open mic.
“We had the same event last year and it was very memorable to me,” Gill said. “One person there said, ‘I’ve been home since 1953 and this is the first time anyone has said thank you.’”
The VFW would like to remind veterans the event would also be a chance to file for benefits, replace lost medals and apply for the Missouri Korean War Veteran Medal.
“Our VA service representative will be there to help them with that and apply for the Missouri Korean War Veteran Medal,” Gill said. “Our point of emphasis will be on the replacement of lost medals and helping the veterans to fill out the paperwork to get that done.”
Peace talks originally began in Kaesong in April 1951, but deadlocked and broke off. They reconvened in July and dragged on for two more years as soldiers tried to annihilate each other from entrenched positions. The combatants finally reached an agreement July 27, 1953.
Since the post is closed Sunday, July 27, this year’s event will be hosted Saturday.
“July 27 is the date the armistice was signed in 1953 to end the conflict, but the post is not open on Sunday so we decided to have it on Saturday afternoon,” Gill said.
For more information about the event, call VFW Post 2591 at 826-4543.