On Saturday, June 25, 1950 President Harry S. Truman was informed that the North Korean People’s Army (KPA) had crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea. Presented with a difficult decision, President Truman announced that the U.S. would do whatever it could to combat this “unprovoked aggression,” stop the spread of Communism and protect the freedom and democracy of the South Korean people.
Over the next three years, 1.7-million brave American men and women landed on the shores of the Korean Peninsula. With the hundreds of thousands of soldiers sent from 20 United Nations member countries and the Army of the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Communism was stopped for the first time in world history. The Korean War, still considered the most successful foreign engagement of the United Nations and the United States during the 20th century, taught us what can be accomplished when we stand together. For the first time, the world saw that democracy would win.
By the time the Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, over 2 million soldiers had made the ultimate sacrifice. Additionally, unknown to most, the Korean War had many firsts. It was the first time that U.S. Forces were racially integrated during combat, helicopters and jets were used in air-to-air combat, and Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) Units made their field debut. It was a war that changed the world.
Despite its success and legacy, the Korean War is still often referred to as the “forgotten war.” The brave men and women who fought and sacrificed were never appropriately thanked or given the proper recognition. The time is now for this War to be “no longer forgotten.”