The Japanese control. After the defeat of Japan of

The book I chose to read and to write about is called I Remember Korea: Veterans Tell Their Stories of the Korean War, 1950-53 by author Linda Granfield. This book interested me especially for a couple of reasons; one being that I had not actually heard of this war before. I know there are lots of things I have yet to learn, but the sole fact that the title is I Remember Korea, and the fact that I have no knowledge of this war even from class, struck me as interesting. After having read the book, I am left wondering why we don’t learn about it in school, but I guess The Forgotten War just stays true to its name. Although it is called forgotten, no war can ever be forgotten by the combatants and the civilians whose lives were affected. That is the reason this book was even written- to remember those who deserve to be remembered.For hundreds of years, Korea was ruled by Chinese or Japanese invaders. By the early 1900s the country was under Japanese control. After the defeat of Japan of the end of World War II (1939-45), Korea was left with no government of its own. The US and the Soviet Union (then friendly nations) agreed to help Korea. Troops from the Soviet Union would help Koreans who lived North of the 38th parallel, and American troops would help those south of it. The 38th parallel is in invisible line that divides Korea into almost equal halves. But the Soviet-American friendship was breaking down. The form of government in the Soviet Union was communism, a harsh system with strict controls over people. Other countries were being influenced and controlled by the Soviet communist. The US and other nations worried that the Soviet Union communism might spread all over the world, and they felt that some action had to be taken to prevent this. In 1947, the United Nations called for an election in Korea so that the country would finally have a stable government, but the Soviets refused to allow an election in the north of Korea. North Korea became known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its leader was Kim II Sung.  The south of Korea became known as the Republic of Korea and was led by an elected president Syngman Rhee. American troops left Korea in 1949 by the end of the year China had become a communist Nation. Joseph Stalin, secretary-general of a communist Soviet Union, and the Chinese leader, Mao tse tung,  later known as mao Zedong, had much to gain by adding Korea to their empire. Neither leader would have thought that the Western Nations, especially the US would in turn fear if they moved into South Korea. Soon after North Korean troops moved into South Korea on the morning of June 25, 1950, they learned how interested the rest of the world was in the fate of Korea. The United Nations demanded that they immediately withdraw, but the North Korean army remained in the south. The UN began to send aid to South Korea and American troops stationed in nearby Japan were ordered to help. On June 31st Harry S Truman authorized the movement of more troops into Korea, but the United States Congress never actually declared war on Korea. For this reason, the war which lasted from 1950 to 1953 was often called a police action or was referred to as the Korean conflict. Later years brought attention to the Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War. Sadly, as the decades passed, the Korean War became known as The Forgotten War despite the fact that armed forces have been stationed on both sides of the demilitarized zone since 1953. Materials that introduced the war and its veterans were needed, but were not readily available, so men and women across North America responded. Both those who did and those who did not return from the Korean battlefields paid a price in the “land of morning calm” memories haunt the survivors. One of the stories in the book is the story of George Dawson and how he and everyone on his ship survived by one degree. George Dawson was ordered to report to a Navy base in California where he joined the crew of a ship that was an attack cargo vessel designed to carry troops Vehicles equipment and supplies into the war zones.”We had to strap ourselves in our bunks to keep us from falling out… I really would have to climb up the Mast grab the antenna as it was whipping around in the wood and secure it to the Mast again I soon realized that this was not a possible anyone trying to do this would be killed or at least seriously injured…The men were pale and were holding on to anything that would keep them from falling. One of them looked at me and pointed to a device that shows how far the ship is leaning he said that if the ship had on only one degree further to the left we would have capsized and we probably would have all died.” Already a veteran of World War II, Edward Zeigler entered active duty in 1949. In 1951, a month after he became one of the first 50 helicopter rated pilots in the US Army, Zeigler was flying choppers in Korea. Because of his helicopter reading, he became the Commanding General pilot and dropped the Russians water, ammunition, and medical supplies. “Sometimes the clouds were so low and the weather so bad I was not able to fly higher than 50 to 75 feet above the ground.” He states that not all the events depicted in the M*A*S*H television series took place, but many of them did. “One of the writers of the series was a friend of mine. He taped an interview with me and said the information would be writing stuff for the show.” He later went on to say “we weren’t members of a flight group that painted fancy pictures a little bombs on there aircraft but we did was just as important I am proud to say that I was a part of that mission.” The last story i’m going to mention was told by Arnold A. Muniz. In this story we learn that things aren’t always what you think they are, as Arnold learned one dark night. His story is terrifying yet very relieving not only for him but for the audience reading this story. “They were coming, I could hear them coming in the dark of the night. I could hear them crashing across the small stream that lay between us and them. I flipped off the safety on my rifle and dropped into a prone position behind one of our tanks my eyes drained to penetrate the darkness I searched for Target.” It was February 17th, 1952 and the day had been a tiring one for Muniz. It was his first night in Korea, and he drew guard duty. That night the temperature was 3 degrees Fahrenheit. “Thinking back to that moment I still find it strange that terror and calmness could lie so close to each other within my heart. I realized that the cracking, crashing noise I was hearing was just the frozen stream buckling under the intense cold. There were no Chinese attacking that night. I was witnessing a natural occurrence…” He had just experienced gut-wrenching fear without painful consequences. “I returned safe and sound to a nation that did not seem to know I have ever been gone.”I decided to add in the last story not only because of the comedic relief, but because I haven’t been able to get Muniz’s last sentence off my mind. “I returned safe and sound to a nation that did not seem to know I have ever been gone.” That line is what the whole book is about. That line has such a deep meaning yet it means nothing to so many people. Although this book is about remembering the Korean War, I still have to wonder why nobody does so. The author gathered an entire series of personal accounts that each have a deeper meaning, and I can appreciate that as a reader. I am glad that the author took her time to put this book together, because now I have the knowledge that I am passing on to others.


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