Remembering the “Forgotten War”
The New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial event calendar said:
“Please join us at the Korean War Kiosk at the NMVM as our nation commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The Korean Veterans Association of Albuquerque, Chapter I and the Korean-American Association of NM will pay tribute to all Korean veterans at this special ceremony.”
On July 27, 2013, my parents and I attended the ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Armistice. It was held at the beautiful New Mexico Veterans Memorial on the corner of Louisiana and Gibson in Southeast Albuquerque.
Held in the large amphitheater, the program was a blend of military pomp and performing arts. It lasted two hours and was more of a celebration and tribute, than a somber reminder of America’s “Forgotten War”. The Korean Veterans group and the Korean American Association of New Mexico had put a lot of effort into the programming and coordination. It was a very intimate, diverse event.
There were several hundred people in the audience—young, old, Veterans, civilians, performers, a representative from the legislature, but no sign of the media. There were no TV cameras, and the July 28 Albuquerque Journal made no reference to the event. It is a pity, because it was an excellent representation of military, American and Korean culture. Jerry Chapman opened the program by giving a brief history of the Korean War. After the color guard posted the colors and we said the Pledge of Allegiance, a young lady sang the Star Spangled Banner. A gentleman sang the Korean national anthem…
A military chaplain made an invocation and the President of the Korean American Association invited us to enjoy the performances.
And what wonderful performances they were!
One gentleman explained that he’d learned the harmonica as a 14 year-old refugee whose mother had felt that even if they were hungry and poor, they needed some music. Laughing, he added that he never dreamed that, one day, he’d be playing harmonica in America.
The event lasted approximately two hours, and was followed by a lavish meal prepared by ladies from the Korean American Association. It was really a wonderful day.
Story by: Circe Olson Woessner