The Korean War Memorial was the most powerful monument I have ever seen. The often called Forgotten War will never be so in my mind. The American Department of Defense acknowledges that almost 40,000 of its servicemen died, either in battle or of other causes.
In Washington, 19 stainless steel soldiers represent those warriors. Standing at 7'3" the larger than life statues are a beautiful work of art. They consist of 14 Army, 3 Marines, 1 Navy, 1 Air Force, and they represent an ethnic cross section of America with 12 Caucasian, 3 African American, 2 Hispanic, 1 Oriental, and 1 Native American soldier. Behind these statues, a wall of photos of all those lost at war, over 15,000 photographs of the Korean War were obtained from the National Archives to create the mural.
I was almost speechless when the bus pulled up to the memorial. I had been to D.C. before and seen what I thought was all of the memorials, but I missed the Korean.
It is a beautiful work of art, and we arrived at sunset which made the mood even more powerful. All of the Veterans who had experienced the Korean War had tears in their eyes, but smiles on as well, happy to finally have some recognition for their hard work.
The wall of photos was one aspect most of the soldiers avoided peering into, in fear of recognizing someone lost.
Throughout this series and this month and carrying these stories around with me, I have stuck with the idea that as Americans we should celebrate Veterans Day more often than just November 11. Really, every day we should thank our Veterans for their dedication and bravery to this great nation.Click here to view previous Honor Flight stories.