Veterans

Letter | Korean War vets recognition long overdue

August 15, 2013 

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First, I wish to thank the Sun News for its editorial on July 28, ” Korean Vets Remembered at Memorial.”

This recognition is, indeed, overdue. My deceased dad was a WWII veteran (an MP at Nuremberg), and mom's brother is a Korean War veteran. Therefore, I have a keen interest in both eras.

With all due respect, the editorial fell short of one bit of historical information. Just how many Horry County men died in the Korean War? Does the public really know what severe conditions the Korean veterans endured of which are forgotten in this “Forgotten War.”

As an historian, collector, exhibitor and freelance feature writer, I have a heart-breaking story ready to send back to my editor in Indiana for a November printing. A baby was born on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 1928. Fast forward to three days after his 22nd birthday when he married his school sweetheart on Feb. 17, 1950.

Sgt. Jack Lee DeWitt was 23 years old the next year on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1951. He was killed in action that day. On his birthday, Sgt. DeWitt left behind a wife (Patricia) and a little baby son (Rick).

During the past year, I have had two exhibits for Korean and Vietnam Veterans at two local libraries. Staff members have told me there were numerous comments and viewings.

I’ll bet your staff has never held an authentic letter written by a lonely soldier while on a Korean hillside. Or how about a letter by a U.S. soldier whose unit was somewhere in North Korea, and wondering if he would ever see his loved ones again.

Maybe The Sun News staff is too young to remember the bold headlines of the day which told of the “hell” of “Heartbreak Ridge.” My authentic copy of that newspaper forever reminds me of that day in that “Forgotten War.”

The Sun News is well-known for supporting all veterans, to be sure. Korean and Vietnam veterans are my immediate priority in thanking them for their service and sacrifice. They are the next generation from which we will lose their members in their advancing age. Let's not make the mistake of giving thanks, too little, too late.

May we trust that The Sun News will shed more light on the Korean and Vietnam veterans, and those future generations whose time will come for their day in the spotlight.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach

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