Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remembering a "forgotten" war

Korean War veterans, including four who served in combat (above), were honored and ten Lucas Countyans who died were acknowledged late Wednesday during a moving and informative program at the Chariton Public Library organized and presented by Frank Mitchell (left).

That war ended with an armistice signed on July 27, 1953 --- 60 years ago come Saturday. It often is called the "forgotten" war because of the lack of attention it received both during and after, something that is attributed to its position between the global catastrophe of World War II and the angst of Vietnam.

Nonetheless, 327,000 U.S. troops served in the war and more than 36,000 died in combat or of other causes.

Frank, a retired professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, who now lives in his hometown of Chariton, is himself a Korean War era veteran who was assigned elsewhere.

The four combat veterans of Korea who were recognized Wednesday were (above, from left) Ed Tighe, Junior Nichols, Donald Crawford and Harold Culbertson.

The photograph here includes two additional people. Bob Clark (left) served as a peacekeeper in Korea after the armistice was signed. Shirley (Halferty) Hamilton was present because her brother, U.S. Army Private Donald Lee Halferty (left), age 17, was the first Lucas Countyan to die in the war --- on August 6, 1950, at Naktong Bulge.

Additional information about nine of the Lucas Countyans who died in Korea can be found here, in an earlier post that needs to be updated --- and will be.

The veterans themselves talked a little about their experiences after Frank's presentation. Ed Tighe and Donald Halferty, for example, were by chance aboard the same transport ship conveying troops from the United States to Japan and spent a good deal of time together during that long trip.

And Mr. and Mrs. Donald Crawford (below) were married the day he enlisted --- and are married still. He teased about returning from Korea thinking he might make a career of the military --- an idea that Mrs. Crawford did not find appealing.

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