Poison Pero is RIGHT!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Korean War Armistice Day - July 27

The Korean War Veterans Memorial - My personal favorite war memorial in Washington D.C. (excluding Arlington, just outside D.C.)...A truly powerful memorial.  The statues are mesmerizing and the Reflecting Wall is amazing, but one simple floor stone caught my attention more than anything else.  It says it all about the war - it says it all about what our men and women gave:


- Dedicated: July 27, 1995.
- Sculptor of Statue(s): Frank Gaylord.
- Walls: 164 feet long, 8 inches thick; more than 100 tons of highly polished granite; more than 2500 photographic, archival images representing the land, sea and air troops that supported those who fought in the war sandblasted onto wall; "Academy Black" granite from California.
- Statues: 19 stainless steel statues; 7'3"-7'6" tall; each one nearly 1000 pounds; 15 Army, 2 Marines, 1 Navy Medic, 1 Air Force Observer; fiber optic lighting.
- Pool of Remembrance: 30 feet in diameter; black granite from Canada.
- 223 piles driven into bedrock, 30-60 feet deep, supporting the statues and the wall.
- United Nations Wall: raised granite curb lists the 22 nations that contributed to this first U.N. effort.
- Land area: 2.2 acres.

2006 Armistice Ceremony - By Dick Cheney

"Americans already familiar with the heroism of World War II and Vietnam are now learning the story of Korea, of what was gained, and what was lost, and of the decisions made so long ago that have a continuing significance to this day.

"When the war began in the summer of 1950, our military had been through years of demobilization and was scarcely prepared for what lay ahead. The South Korean units were even worse off. The first units on our side in the battle area went in without tanks and were severely outgunned. General Ridgway said it was as if a few troops of Boy Scouts with hand weapons had tried to stop a German Panzer column. Another soldier remembers Korea as 'a war of fists and rifle butts.' Yet our troops fought valiantly. In early battles, American and South Korean combat forces were often outnumbered, sometimes by as much as 20 to one. It was, said President Truman, one of the most heroic rearguard actions on record.

"Throughout the conflict, American and South Korean forces found themselves in some of the most difficult conditions any army could face. Their weapons rusted in the monsoons of summer, and froze solid during the coldest Korean winter in a hundred years. Many of our men who fell into enemy hands were treated with cold-blooded cruelty. By the time the fighting ceased and the armistice was signed, 131 Americans had earned the Medal of Honor, and of those, 94 died while earning it.

"In the space of just 37 months, the United States of America lost a total of more than 36,000 of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. More than 90,000 others returned home wounded. And even today, 53 years after the guns went silent, some 8,000 of our men remain unaccounted for. These brave Americans were last seen doing their duty. We know their names. We honor their service. And this nation will persist in the effort to gain a full accounting for every last one of them.

"The cause America stood for in Korea, joined by forces from many countries, was noble and just. It was the cause of human freedom. It was a battle to determine, as General Ridgway put it, 'Whether the rule of men who shoot their prisoners, enslave their citizens, and deride the dignity of man shall displace the rule of those to whom the individual and his individual rights are sacred.'

"All of us look to the day when the light of freedom and progress covers all of Korea, and stability on the peninsula rests on a foundation of peaceful reconciliation. Until then, stability and peace will be maintained by our great military alliance. Tens of thousands of American troops proudly serve in Korea today. We will maintain our presence there. America's commitment to peace in the region, and to the security of our friends, is unbreakable. The United States and South Korea will continue to stand together in defending civilization against global terror, and building the peace that freedom brings.

"Our people stationed in South Korea today follow in the finest of traditions, going back to the 1.8 million Americans who fought there during the war, and the millions of others who have honored this country by their military service. In these early years of the 21st century, the American people have been inspired once again by the bravery and the selflessness of our armed forces. Freedom is not free, and all of us are deep in the debt of the men and women who go out and pay the price for our liberty.

"As President Eisenhower said 53 years ago, Americans who fought in Korea 'proved once again that only courage and sacrifice can keep freedom alive upon this Earth.' By that courage and sacrifice, the United States and our allies held off the aggressive expansion of communism, and helped make possible the freedom and the great prosperity today enjoyed by some 48 million South Koreans. Decades after he left the military, one of our veterans said this: 'I was glad to have served my country, and I've never heard Korean veterans complain. In fact, if we had to do it all over again, we would.'

"Ladies and gentlemen, there could be no more eloquent testimony to the character of our country than those words from an American who served in that war. And it is fitting that every year, on the 27th of July, we honor them all and offer the respect of a grateful nation."

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