DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A special ceremony took place Saturday to honor Korean War veterans.
During the ceremony, the Deputy Consul General of the Korean Consulate of Chicago distributed the Ambassador for Peace Medal to 270 veterans. The medal is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to U.S. service men and women who served in the Korean conflict.
“This is really a chance to honor their service, their sacrifice,” says Ted Froats with the Dayton VA.
The VA and the Korean Association of Dayton stepped forward to put on the ceremony or otherwise those with the Korean Veterans Memorial say it wouldn’t have been held this year.
The event honored those like Charles M. Smith Jr. who did walk away with a previous medal all those years ago for his service, a Purple Heart.
“Got hit with a mortar shell while firing a machine gun downhill at the enemy,” Smith says.
But it’s what happened next that he’ll never forget.
“Another solider said you’re standing in the middle of a minefield,” Smith says. “He said don’t move, I’ll come out and get you.”
Smith survived but thousands of others didn’t.
The ceremony was about honoring them as well, and letting them know they’ll be remembered by not just one country but two.
“Some say the Korean War is the ‘Forgotten War’ but for Koreans the war cannot be forgettable,” says Deputy Consulate General of Korea in Chicago Jaewoong Lee.
July 27 will mark the 61st anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.