Korean War vets remembered

Korean War veterans were reminded Saturday that their efforts and sacrifices made on behalf of the conflict that ended 60 years ago were not in vain.

Never mind that the war, which claimed more than 50,000 U.S. lives, is not a highly celebrated or remembered one.

Harry Forbes, director of the Northeast Office of the Governor, served as the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Korean War Veterans Reunion ceremony at Veterans Park in Williamsport’s west end.

Those who fought in the The Korean Conflict, he said, faced horrible conditions, including sometimes frigid cold weather.

Initially, men sent overseas to fight the communist forces were ill-equipped and not well trained.

He recalled a speech made by then-President Harry Truman who defended U.S. combat troops in Korea as a means of standing up against those trying to oppress freedom.

Later, President Clinton, he noted, said the Korean War helped change the course of history by helping to usher in the eventual collapse of communism.

Forbes, a Vietnam combat veteran, said nearly 8,000 Korean War veterans still are unaccounted for.

“That’s a shame,” he said. “We should push that agenda and find out where they are.”

Local Korean War veteran Howard Wilt said U.S. troops faced daunting odds with the arrival of Chinese combat forces.

“It was not pleasant to confront an enemy that was more than willing to die,” he said.

The Repasz Band played various patriotic music during the ceremonies.

Veterans representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines stood as theme songs for their particular military branch of service played.

The Repasz Band also played “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

A single bell tolled for each of various U.S. military personnel killed in the Korean War.

Korean War veteran Galen Seaman read the poem, “Ode to the Korean Veteran.”

The weekend’s reunion events concluded Saturday night with a banquet at the Genetti Hotel.