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Recalling the ceasefire of an inconvenient war [Eagle Archives]

Armed ForcesInternational Military InterventionsKorean War (1950-1953)U.S. Marine Corps

Saturday, July 27, was the 60th anniversary of what is known as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. Never heard of it? You are not alone.

It was 60 years ago that, according to my 1970 edition of "A Concise History of The United States Marine Corps 1775-1969," "Finally, after two years of frustrating and often fruitless meetings with the Communist negotiators, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom, and the fighting (in Korea) ended on 27 July 1953 …"

Unlike armed conflicts of the past, there was really nothing conclusive about the end of the active hostilities.

There has never been a peace treaty. Technically, the Korean War never ended. To this day, the U.S. still maintains 28,500 troops in South Korea in an effort to maintain an uneasy peace.

Growing up in Carroll County in the 1950s, I recall very little mention of the Korean War. At the time, Carroll, like much of the country, was trying to get accustomed to a new post-World War II economy. Residents were busy with new houses, jobs and the task of raising young families that followed the six years of World War II.

Many historians refer to the Korean conflict as "The Forgotten War." I tend to refer to it as "The Inconvenient War." History has unceremoniously relegated it to a footnote wedged in between World War II and Vietnam.

My Marine Corps history book reports President Harry Truman authorized sending American troops to Korea on June 29, 1950. It was decided to send elements of the U.S. 8th Army. "All of these Army units were understrength, poorly equipped, and suffering from the common occupation problem of poor training …"

Many from Carroll County proudly served in Korea. Among them were, according to research for the Historical Society of Carroll County by historian Jay Graybeal, Sherman E. Flanagan Jr., of Westminster. He joined the Air Force in 1951 and flew combat missions in Korea. Later, "Lt. Col. Flanagan was declared missing in action after being shot down by ground fire on a July 21, 1968 mission over the Demilitarized Zone (in Vietnam.)"

Harry G. Emigh Jr., a family friend and a longtime resident of Willis Street, also served. He was a highly decorated veteran of World War II.

During the Korean War, he was a platoon leader of the 2nd Infantry, Indian Head Division. After being wounded, which ended his military career, he received the Purple Heart.

History is not always a kind master. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the veterans of the Korean War.

In Carroll County, we will never forget your service and sacrifice. You have the indebted thanks of a grateful nation for having served. Thank you.

When he not immersed in his old Marine Corps history book, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com or @kevindayhoff on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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