There are a number of special dates on my calendar these days — some may also be important to you.
Probably few, if any, remembered that June 25 marked the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. In fact, even those who are old enough to remember would not have considered it very important. It has been rightly called “The Forgotten War.”
On that day in 1950, I didn’t realize what an impact the Communist invasion in Korea would have on my life. I had finally received my Port Call to proceed to San Francisco to depart to join my husband, who was stationed in Sendai, Japan; so I had shipped a couple of footlockers of personal belongings, made train reservations for California (we didn’t fly much in those days), had been entertained at several “bon voyage” parties, and was eagerly anticipating joining Morris. It had been almost a year since he had shipped out, a very long year for a bride of only six months. We had not expected that it would be that long before quarters in Sendai would be available, so I was very excited.
Even as the news broke, everyone expected that the Korean “skirmish” would be short-lived and easily subdued. But within a few days, a telegram ordered me not to proceed to the port until further notice (a notice which, of course, never came), and then a phone call from my husband on the eve of his deployment to Korea.
It would be another year and a half, many anxious days, and much fervent praying before we were reunited. I empathize with the families of present-day military personnel as they locate unfamiliar places on maps of Afghanistan and Iraq. None of my relatives and friends had any idea where Inchon and Pusan and the Yalu River were located. And for the most part, the rest of the country went on as usual.
Someone sent me a recent newspaper clipping about the Korean War from that featured a fellow North Georgia College alumnus, and friend, as he recalled Korean memories, and that triggered my own. Otherwise, June 25 would have passed completely unnoticed.
Those who were part of that Korean conflict would never have believed that, 60 years later, U.S. soldiers would still be on duty at the North Korea/South Korea border, or that North Korea would be a nuclear threat.
As I put out my U.S. flag for Independence, I breathed a prayer that 60 years from now we won’t still need troops in such far-flung areas as the Middle East and the other side of the Pacific.
Even as we celebrate July Fourth and are grateful for our liberty, independence, and the many blessings that we Americans enjoy, we know that our flag is being carried into battles. I wish so much that it were unnecessary to do so.
Celebrate we will (or, by the time you read this, we did), however, and I hope safely so.
Then we turn our attention to the upcoming primaries on July 20.
Another date marked is July 9, when a candidate forum is scheduled.
It behooves all us residents to attend and listen. Even if you have already decided for whom to vote or have already voted, you may need a second choice, for there are sure to be some runoffs.
Before all that happens, however, I will have done my own celebrating, as I pass my 86th birthday.
And that, too, is something for which I am grateful.
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.