Memorial Day and the Korean War

May 27, Memorial Day, brought back memories of where and what had happened in my life 66 years ago.

I was standing with a large group of men in a barbed wired enclosed POW compound in North Korea. Our captors had brought us together for an announcement. We stood there with bodies that stunk from not bathing, lice running down our emaciated bodies, wondering what hellish demands they were going to put us through this time. The Korean camp commander stood facing us with a big grin announcing that an armistice had ended the war, we would be going home soon.

We all stood there showing no emotion, not believing what we had just head. They've told us so many lies over the years that this seemed impossible. However, thank God, it turned out to be true. I went through the "Big Switch" and was home in October of 1953.

On Memorial Day, as usual, the news agencies remembered World War II and the Vietnam War as they should. The Korean War, where over 33,652 American military men lost their lives is seldom, if ever, mentioned (included in that number are six courageous crew members who did not get a chance to bail out of our bullet riddled B-29 bomber before it crashed).

It is a forgotten war, but I can remember.

Jerry McClean

Brevard County 

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