Sunday, July 14, 2013

Honor veterans of the forgotten war

Honor veterans of the forgotten war
Chicago Sun Times
July 12, 2013

One military historian called it “the century’s nastiest little war.” On June 25, 1950, seven divisions of elite North Korean communist troops invaded the fledgling democracy of South Korea with the intention of conquering their southern neighbor and ally of the United States in three weeks.

Three years and three weeks later — when the United Nations, China and North Korea signed an armistice ending the Korean War — U.S. casualties amounted to 33,629 killed, 103,284 wounded and 7,140 taken prisoner. Millions of civilians had perished.

American soldiers were dubbed “the walking wounded” because they were patched up in the field and sent back into battle — a savage existence where ever-changing front lines, hand-to-hand combat, merciless artillery barrages, amputations from frostbite and death from dysentery were commonplace.

Sixty years after the armistice signing on July 27, 1953, the walking wounded remains an apt description for Bernard Bossov, 83, of Wilmette, and other American veterans who continue to battle physical and emotional trauma caused by the war. “I can handle the pain and the nightmares,” Bossov says, “but worse is that people might forget how well we fought and what we did.”

Bossov, like so many other Korean War veterans, feels his sacrifice has been overlooked.
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