As living memories of the Korean War fade, its consequences become clearer
By: Justin Zhao
In 1953, the Korean War ended with a cease-fire. After the war, people worldwide still struggle with the U.S. perspective of the forgotten war.
"We don't call it the Forgotten War, we call it the forgotten victory," said Wiedhahn, a retired U.S. Marine. "We saved South Korea from becoming a communist country." What Wiedhahn said might not have been clear then, but it is obvious now. South Korea is a democracy and is among the world's largest economies. North Korea is a brutal, impoverished dictatorship. The United Nations, led by the U.S., held the North Koreans off before the armistice. They even drove their forces down to the Chinese border before getting pushed back.
Wiedhahn, the president of a group of veterans called Chosin Few, said,
"Now don't get me wrong. The cease-fire was welcomed because that meant that the Marines and soldiers were not getting killed anymore. But to me, to us who had fought in the beginning, it was kind of anti-climactic."
Weigle is a legacy member of the Chosin few.
Nancy Weigle, who was her father, Gerald, was a navy corpse who died in 2018.
"I actually had no idea my dad was involved with the Chosin Reservoir. He didn't say one word about it."
Robert Grier is a soldier in the US Army.
Robert Grier, a soldier, says that one of his memories is very different and is nearly impossible to think about.
"Black soldiers didn't get promoted very much back then. It was always in the lower ranks," he said. The U.S. eventually promoted Grier to captain.
Welton Chang, who served two tours in Iraq. Before going to Iraq, Chang went to Korea; at the same year North Korea detonated its first nuclear weapon and tested their first intercontinental ballistic missiles.
"I sympathize with the Korean War vets,"said Chang. The time he spent in Korea shows the respect he had for the U.S.
"It was always super awkward because you kind of have to remind them that, like, I wasn't even born when any of this stuff happened," Chang said. "But they saw it as this long, unbroken line of U.S. commitment in Asia."