Recently, I wrote a piece about my love history and how it led me to explore the history of Sherman for a recent article.
In response to the piece, I received a piece of mail asking if the historian in me knew the importance of June 25. The letter was unsigned, other than being from "just another soldier that was there."
Despite the moniker as the forgotten war, I am familiar with the Korean War, which started on June 25, 1950 with the invasion of South Korea by the forces of North Korea. It was two days later that the U.S. Signaled that it would enter the conflict as a part of United Nations forces.
While I wasn’t around then, one of the first college courses I took was specifically focused on the U.S. efforts in Korea. It is thanks to one of the best teachers I have ever had that I developed this love of history while studying the conflict.
One of lectures I still remember from my classes was on the Battle of Chosin Reservoir where about 30,000 UN troops were cut off an encircled by a form of nearly 120,000 Chinese and North Korean troops. Over the course of more than two weeks in frigid conditions, the UN forces broke out and were able to make their way to safety.
In recent years, I can remember meeting one of the veterans who served during the battle, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask about it.
Over the years, I’ve wrestled over why the Korean War has always been called the Forgotten War. In some ways it feels like it was simply overtaken by the conflicts that came before and after it.
The conflict didn’t end in the fanfare and decisive victory that came with WWII. Instead we had a stalemate that has held to this day.
Likewise, there wasn’t the same emotions back home that came with the Vietnam War. However, I do not feel it has been forgotten. I know of a certain soldier who was there who certainly remembers, and while I wasn’t there, it is certainly something I will remember for my years.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.