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July 28, 2013

60 Years Later

Korean War veterans reflect on their roles in conflict on 60th anniversary of its observed ending

By BRIAN SMITH

Don’t tell Richard Lamb that what he experienced in Korea was a conflict, police action or anything other than a war.

Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of what is considered the end of the three-year war.

Lamb, an Army medic who arrived in Korea as an 18-year-old in March 1953, said he has been disheartened by the lack of respect the war has received.

“It was a war. Not a police action or whatever Truman called it,” Lamb said. “Whenever one drop of American blood is shed, it’s a war.”

“Whoever doesn’t believe it was a war sure wasn’t with us in the trenches, dodging bullets,” Ed Meza, who served as an infantryman toward the end of the war, said.

Lamb spoke of an event he was at an American Legion hall in recent years where military members asked for veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to stand up and be honored ... and didn’t mention Korea.

“I asked the guy ‘what about Korea?’” Lamb said. “About 58,000 servicemen died in that war. Why weren’t we mentioned?”

Max Kassera, who spent 13 months as a crytographer with the Signal Corps, had a similar experience at a concert for veterans where veterans of several wars were asked to stand and be honored. Korea was never mentioned. The emcee then asked for veterans to stand as the branch of the service they were in had a song played.

“When they played the Army song, I refused to stand,” Kassera said. “My friend (encouraged me) and I refused in honor of those of us that were over there and paid the price.”

The three men believe that Korea has been forgotten in the minds of Americans, which is a shame. Many of the movies and TV shows, including the critically acclaimed “MASH,” were not an accurate representation of what went on over there.

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