On June 25, 1950, the first war of the Cold War-era erupted when North Korean forces crossed the border into South Korea. The war would last three years, involving troops from around the globe, and costing millions of lives. National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day commemorates the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953, and those who served during this often forgotten war.
Unlike World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and The War on Terror, the Korean War’s complexity, setting, and timing cause history to gloss over the war. For centuries, Japan and China laid claim on Korea. In more modern history, Japan annexed Korea, and following World War II, the Allied forces liberated Korea, dividing it into separate occupied zones. The dividing line was named the 38th parallel, creating a Communist North Korea and a South Korean republic.
How It Was Different
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Germany, Japan, Russia, and over 40 other countries contributed troops, supplies, and other support during the three-year war. The war claimed approximately 3 million casualties, and civilians suffered the greatest loss of the war. The forgotten war is one of the deadliest of the Cold War-era.
Since the war started as a state conflict, the media and civilians showed less initial interest in the Korean War. There was no great mobilization at home, no massive build-up of war machinery, no shortages of gas, food, or products – no direct impact on the daily lives of Americans at home. President Harry S. Truman never issued a declaration of war. And when the veterans came home, most were silent. Many served in World War II, and some would go on to serve in the Vietnam War. After World War II, victories – multiple victories were declared. However, the Korean War ended in a stalemate.
Regardless of the war’s status as the Forgotten War, those who served should be remembered. They endured the brutalities of war, a harsh climate and battled against Communism. During the war, 33,665 U.S. service members gave their lives in that pursuit. They are not forgotten.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS ARMISTICE DAY
On July 27th, military organizations and communities across the country host memorials and events dedicated to the service members of the Korean War. The day offers an excellent opportunity to learn the history of the war and about those who served.
- Read about the Korean War. We recommend:
- In Mortal Combat by John Toland
- The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam
- About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior by Colonel David H. Hackworth
- Watch a documentary such as This Korea directed by John Ford.
- Visit the Korean War Memorial.
- Visit with a Korean War veteran.
- Share your experiences and stories about the Korean War.
- Show your support to all veterans.
Join the conversation by using #KoreanWarVeteransArmisticeDay on social media.
NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS ARMISTICE DAY
In 1992, President George H. W. Bush and Korean War veteran Marine General Raymond Davis broke ground on the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C. Three years later, President Bill Clinton proclaimed National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day and, along with South Korean President Kim Young-sam, dedicated the memorial to all the Korean Veterans.