The eyes of the world will be on South Korea (with glances to the North) for the Olympic Games, which are underway at Pyeongchang in South Korea.
For Korean War veterans, the location of the games brings back memories that aren’t too pleasant. When the North invaded the South June 25, 1950, few of the young men of draft age at that time had ever heard of Korea.
As part of the United Nations’ forces, the U.S. was committed to help the South. We had a few troops in Korea in June 1950 as advisers and in support roles. Our troops were ill-equipped and unprepared for the attack. We did have a couple of divisions next door in Japan, but they were not prepared to face the North either, especially when the Chinese entered the war to help the North. Russia also gave aid to the North.
When we read about the freezing weather for the Olympics, our thoughts go back to the 1950s, and what our troops, especially the infantry, had to endure for more than three years in the rugged land of Korea. Yes, it was cold!
The thoughts include what our POWs had to suffer. Their treatment was inhumane, so bad that most of them died. Many an infantryman felt being killed in action was better than being captured.
It took time, over three years, but the U.N. forces, mainly U. S. troops, kicked the North out of the South. That was a victory.
Today the South is a booming country, modern in every respect, the people enjoy freedoms and a better-than-average standard of living. In the North, it’s just the opposite. People are starving, freedoms are few and it is not the land of opportunity.
Of course, the Olympic Games would not be normal unless there was a bit of controversy surrounding the event. There are Americans who are upset with the North participating. Then we have U.S. skater Adam Rippon, who disagrees with Vice President Mike Pence’s views on gay rights, who objects to Pence’s role of leading the U.S. delegation. If Rippon, who is gay, is so upset, maybe he should catch the first plane back to the U.S.