It’s been called the coldest war, the forgotten war. Their service sandwiched between — and overshadowed by — World War II and the war in Vietnam, veterans of the three-year-long Korean War have largely gone unrecognized in American society.
But last week, as Asian Weekly details in a heart-warming (and often heart-wrenching) story in this week’s issue, more than a dozen Japanese American veterans of the Korean War were honored by the Consul General of the Republic of Korea with the Ambassador of Peace Medal. The ceremony was hosted by Seattle’s Nisei Veteran Committee, and was a ray of sunshine in what has sometimes been a cloudy relationship between Koreans and Japanese.
Sixty years is a long time to wait, but the veterans have not forgotten. Many remain haunted by what they saw and experienced. Perhaps this small but meaningful ceremony will bring a bit of healing to those who fought and slogged through that bleak war, and to their families as well.
Diverse and even conflicting ethnic groups working together — honoring each other’s service and achievements, acknowledging and responding to each other’s struggles — is a refreshing notion in these days of sensationalized divisiveness among our country’s prominent leaders. Small, local communities, such as the Nisei Veterans Committee, stepping outside the realm of self interest to celebrate others is a shining example of how things could be different, and better. There is no downside in moments like that, just good feelings. Let’s have more of that. (end)