The Korean War was the first test of the United Nations’ resolve to stand against tyranny in all its forms. Twenty-one nations banded together with the United States and South Korea in a remarkable display of solidarity to turn back naked aggression and stem the tide of communism. The Armistice signed in 1953 that remains in effect today reminds us that we must remain vigilant against the forces of tyranny and oppression.
The Korean War also saw the advent of aeronautical, medical and societal change: Helicopters were introduced to transport casualties to field hospitals; jets became the new “standard” for aircraft; leading-edge radio technology allowed better coordination of troop movements; and Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) units placed experienced medical personnel closer to the front,improving a wounded Soldier’s chance for survival. Perhaps the most lasting impact of the Korean War was the change that was manifested to American society. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman had signed Executive Order 9981, securing the full integration of America’s Armed Services. Thus, America went to war in Korea for the first time in her history with a military that reflected her diversity.
We must never forget the selfless sacrifices of the Veterans who fought in Korea to ensure the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today. The Veterans who shivered in the trenches, tracked through knee-deep mud, flew combat missions over rugged mountainous terrain, and stood watch over hostile seas set aside their own comfort, safety and aspirations to answer the call to arms at a time when our nation was still exhausted from the horrors of World War II. These patriots halted the tide of communism that threatened to sweep over the Korean peninsula. Today the Republic of Korea stands as a modern, prosperous, vibrant democracy because of their courage and selfless sacrifice.