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The Struggle of the Korean War Veteran

This image of the Korean War memorial in DC illustrates the struggle that war veterans face in their transition from war back home. This is achieved by placing statues of the veterans, wearing the cloths they wore on the battle field, in the city.
by

Sienna Creech

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of The Struggle of the Korean War Veteran


THE KOREAN WAR:
VETERAN STRUGGLE

Sienna Creech
Brad Zemke
Omar Eteiba
Nick England
Clare Botti
COMING HOME
STAND OR
DIE
"WE ARE FIGHTING a battle against time. There will be no more retreating, withdrawal or readjustment of the lines or any other term you choose. There is no line behind us to which we can retreat. Every unit must counterattack to keep the enemy in a state of confusion and off balance. There will be no Dunkirk, there will be no Bataan. A retreat to Pusan would be one of the greatest butcheries in history. We must fight until the end. Capture by these people is worse than death itself. We will fight as a team. If some of us must die, we will die fighting together. Any man who gives ground may be responsible for the death of thousands of his comrades. I want you to put this out to all the men in the division. I want everybody to understand that we are going to hold this line. We are going to win."
-Lt. Gen. Walton Walker to
U.S. 25th Infantry Division staff,
July 29, 1950
-From David Zabecki's "Stand or Die"
He talked about a truck at night
hit by a mortar shell so that it wrecked,
steering column pinned the driver's chest,
driver talking fast, truck catching fire.

And what they see, I hear him say,
is silhouette and pantomime,
a dance around a wheel until a gun goes off,
the young man's sergeant walking back.
Prunty, Wyatt. "Memory."
Jay Shook (Interview outline and video), 2005
There and Back again: From Inchon to the Yalu River
When we arrived at the prison we were put in a room 16 X 16 feet that housed 10 men. Then we had a meal of rice added to our diet - just once a week. The rest of the time we lived on that 'cow's food'.

Our summer clothes were made out of material worse than flour sacks. Our winter clothes were padded cotton. During the winter we could scrape the ice off the walls of our room. We had to sleep on the floor.


POW Journal of PFC Louis Harris
Company A, RTC, 24th Army Division
RED CAMP #1 at Chungson, North Korea
- The Korean War Project
The sign he held though seen before
held no words of profundity.
"Will work for food," large and bold
were the words I first did see.

It was the next two words I read
that gave my heart a pull, and yet
I wanted not to feel akin
to this old Korean vet.

-Gene Isom from
"The Old Korean Veteran"

“The thing that haunts a guy is the
stuff he wasn't ordered to do.”

-Walt Kowalski from
Gran Torino
When Joey asked what he'd done with his feet, the doctor's
face turned gray and he wouldn't say. He assured Joey that
they were not in a laboratory jar... Joey didn’t believe him. Somewhere, floating in formaldehyde, his feet were dancing, he was sure.

-Robert Boswell's "Little Bear"
"They were outfitted in summer gear. The thermometer read fifteen degrees."

When we came home...

We went and tried to get jobs, try to start a living. We didn't talk about the war. We had no clubs to join...

It took years for them to recognize us through our Korean Service Medal, and, finally, we were admitted. And America didn't see the war on television like they'd seen Vietnam. I guess the main thing is in 1984, we seen the Vietnam veterans doing so much and having a memorial built and telling about their war that we thought, `Hey, you know, we were forgotten, or we forgot ourselves.'

Vincent Krepps
THE IMPACT
Disputes arising from the commemoration of the Vietnam War, as opposed to wartime controversies about the Vietnam War itself, now cast their shadow on the effort to commemorate the Korean War.



-Patrick Hagopian's "The Korean War Veterans Memorial and Problems of Representation"
Prisoners of War
Unfit Gear
A Homeless Veteran
-Elizabeth Lantz's "An Unexplained Accident"
Paranoia
Anti War Propaganda
M*A*S*H Season 2, Episode 9, "Dear Dad... Three"
Reports also signaled fear and low morale among the American troops, conveying some of their emotions to the public back home in ways that might elicit emotional concern in response.

“Perceptions of Death and the Korean War”
-Shuji Otsuka and Peter N. Stearns
On the left side of the page a smiling soldier stood above the
caption, "Before battle: A jaunty Marine grins." On the right, another picture
showed a GI, dejected and exhausted, leaning on his rifle. He covered his eyes,
either trying to sleep (standing up), or hiding his tears. The caption read, "After
battle: A weary Marine rests."65
Nowhere was the downward spiral of the human
spirit under battle so visually explicit as in this before-and-after feature

“Remembering the Forgotten War: Korea, 1950-1953”
Full transcript