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Korean War: The Forgotten Victory

Updated June. 20, 2013 06:12

한국어

In the U.S., the Korean War is a “forgotten war.” A total of 1.5 million man-days of American soldiers participate in the war, and more than 36,000 soldiers died in battle, but it is nicknamed “orphan of history,” because it is dwarfed by World War II and the Vietnam War. American soldiers might wish to delete from their memories fighting countless Chinese soldiers, enduring bone-carving winter weather in a country that they had never heard before at that time. War veterans, who recall as half joke that cold weather was more dreadful than Chinese soldiers, call the Korean War by another name the “coldest ever winter."

It is no coincidence that the Korea War Veterans Memorial in Washington was launched in 1995, or 13 years after the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial was opened. The Korean War Veterans Memorial, which is famous for the statue symbolizing 19 U.S. marines who participated in Jangjinho Combat, is a must visit site for a Korean president visiting the U.S. Memorials are also situated in the states of Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Korean War Memorial in the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum in Norfolk, Virginia has a flag with a message reading “Freedom Is Not Free,” which the Korean and American governments created in 2000 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of outbreak of the Korean War.

A ceremony to launch a Korean War exhibition hall took place at the Pentagon on Wednesday, ahead of the 60 the anniversary of the Armistice Agreement for the Korean War. The hall displays weapons and combat uniforms that were used during the war, and news reports and photos on progress of war, as well as videos on the warfare. The hall is included in the “Pentagon Tour,” which attracts more than 100,000 people, and is expected to provide a great attraction for foreign tourists as well as Americans.

It is notable that the hall has been established under the overall theme “The Forgotten Victory,” in a bid to emphasize that it was “effective victory” that blocked North Korea’s surprise attack on South Korea. North Korea celebrates July 27 as a national day when the Armistice Treaty was signed, promoting the date as the “Day of Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War.” China, which participated in the Korean War to assist North Korea, calls the Korean War an “anti-American, and pro-North Korean War” and “War of justice” that protected North Korea by fighting aggression of American imperialism. The Korean War is in armistice, and hence is still an affair in the present tense.

Editorial writer Ha Tae-won (triplets@donga.com)