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Korean War veterans honored by Legion

Posted: October 23, 2014 6:50 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2014 1:00 a.m.
Gary Phillips/C-I

Korean War veterans and wives recognized by James LeRoy Belk American Legion Post No. 17 in Camden on Oct. 18, including those pictured here, were (in alphabetical order) Doyle Allen, Billy W. Bell, Alton G. Campbell, Aurthur Delperlong, John Ensign, Jimmie J. Fox, Ernest Lee Griggs, D.R. Harrelson, Bernice T. Harrelson, Alvin V. Hooper, Robert E. Horton, Clayton W. Jackson, William S. Lee Jr., Harry Losey, John E. Lloyd, Charlie B. Mathis, Jimmie S. Mayer, James F. Mazur, Marvin J. McCaskill, Hayward McGougan, Milledge B, Newman, Susan Radamski, David R. Reconnu and Wylie L. Vaughn.

 

The Korean War is sometimes called “the forgotten war,” but James LeRoy Belk Post No. 17 of the American Legion in Camden held a special recognition for veterans of that conflict Oct. 18. Post Commander Clay Carruth asked all Korean War veterans in attendance to stand and be recognized before offering some remarks.

“It’s called the forgotten war by some. In one sense all the wars are forgotten as soon as the dust settles and the veterans get old and then finally they are no longer among us,” Carruth said. “That war is getting ready to be forgotten in that sense. In a very important sense it’s not been forgotten. It can never be forgotten.”

Carruth said certificates of recognition would be given to each honored veteran, along with a book about the war. Carruth said he had read the book and was impressed.

“I think you’ll like it. I think you’ll appreciate what they’ve done. It’s divided into two parts, generally. The first is the military part having to do with the Korean War and it’s a pretty good chronicle in broad brush strokes of what the events were of that war,” Carruth said. “Everyone who knows about the Korean War appreciates the hardship of service there and the great endurance and the great physical courage of those who served there.”

Carruth said the second part of the book details the positive impact the U.S. military had on Korea.

“It’s frankly very little short of gratifying and encouraging just beyond what a person might expect. Wars being what they are, they cost a lot in all kinds of terms. It’s very difficult sometimes to see what, if any, good has come from any of them,” Carruth said. “This particular war kept from happening what we see all the time coming from North Korea happen to that part of the country.”

Carruth said South Korea has risen to prominence in the world economy, due largely to the assistance the U.S. military provided more than 60 years ago.

“South Korea has progressed from authoritarian government to something more and more liberal and democratic, which now can take its place among the developed nations of the world as one of the most enlightened when it comes to government and the participation of the citizenry in the government,” Carruth said. “Economic development has been no less. It’s the world’s largest ship builder and has been for a number of years now. The automotive industry is very well developed, as people in this country know because we are a big market for Hyundais and other things the South Koreans have built.”

Carruth said the U.S. now has a valuable ally in South Korea and many American military personnel still serve there. He said with North Korea still under unstable leadership, the entire area could be volatile.

“We’ve still got 28,500 troops stationed there. From June of 1950 until July in 1953 when the armistice was signed, we went through cease fires and finally an armistice, but never a treaty of peace. There’s been provocations and incidents from time to time and there have been 50 or more American servicemen who have lost their lives since the armistice was signed,” Carruth said. “It remains a dicey place and our prospects for peace are about as good as the quality of the leadership on the northern side of the 38th parallel.”

The certificates and books were passed out to the veterans before the event adjourned. Legion member Perry McCoy announced a similar recognition for Vietnam veterans is being planned.

 

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