To some, it is known as the “Forgotten War,” but to American and Korean veterans living in Flushing the memory of those who gave their lives in the Korean War is alive and well.
“Every year we will gather here on this day, June 25,” said City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing). “All over the country people gather on Memorial Day to mourn those lost in the Korean War, but this is one special commemoration that will always take place right here in Flushing.”
Dozens of veterans, elected officials and community leaders assembled at the Korean War Memorial in Kissena Park to mark the 59th anniversary since the Korean War began on June 25, 1950.
More than 36,000 American soldiers died in the Korean War, which lasted more than three years before ending in July 1953.
The Korean War is often called the “forgotten war” because throughout the last several decades it has received far less attention in the public eye than World War II, which preceded it, and the Vietnam War, which followed it.
“Fifty-nine years ago, all young men, we went through an ordeal very few people have gone through,” said Andrew Musumeci, president of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Association. “And you don’t hear about this, but what’s forgotten is that this was a humanitarian effort to help the refugees of North Korea.”
Veterans and officials said it was important to remember the Korean War, not only for those who were lost, but because unrest still continues between North Korea and South Korea and the United States.
“Someday in the future I hope we will be united, North and South Korea,” said Yong Hwa Ha of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.
Korean War Veteran Sok Hai Kang said he will always remember the bonds he formed with American soldiers during the war.
“Your friendship and sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Kang said. “After so many years, those who fought together are fortunate enough to live together in the same community.”
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), whose father is a Korean War veteran, said the large, ethnically diverse veterans’ community in Flushing provides is unique.
“It’s definitely meaningful and special,” she said. “It’s something that they’re able to share together.”
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community News Group
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