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Our View: On 70th anniversary of Korean War beginning, remember it and those who served

Do you know the longest war America has been involved in? Technically, that would be the Korean War. The conflict sometimes referred to as America’s “forgotten war” has been suspended since an armistice between the North and the South was signed on July 27, 1953. Ten Carroll County residents died while serving in that war, and more than 36,000 Americans were killed in action in total.

Today, June 25, marks the 70 anniversary of the beginning of that war. Help make sure this conflict is not, in fact, forgotten.

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It’s an uneasy time for relations between the two Koreas. The Associated Press reports that North Korea has pushed a pressure campaign against its rival amid stalled nuclear negotiations with President Trump’s administration, though its leader, Kim Jong Un, reportedly suspended planned military retaliation Wednesday. Tensions are clearly high, but hopes are not.

Now is no time to abandon the United States’ obligations to helped maintain the safety of that region of the world, especially for important allies such as South Korea and Japan. Of course the situation for another close ally, Germany, is not the same, but the White House decision to remove more than 9,000 troops from that country by September sends a disturbing signal.

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But that’s beyond the average Carroll countian’s control. On a local level, there’s no question that this county is kind to its veterans.

Through annual remembrances, flagpole dedications, services offered and more, we often see a clear message sent: that the sacrifices servicemen and servicewomen have made are valued here. Their memories and experiences have been preserved, such as through a special broadcast the Community Media Center released last Veteran’s Day, featuring interviews with Carroll County veterans. That was part of their Veterans Oral History Collection, which aims to create a resource that can help educate future generations. And a memorial for vets is being planned as part of the under-construction Veterans Memorial Park in Westminster.

On top of all that, in November, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to donate $4,100 toward a memorial that the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation seeks to build in Washington, D.C.

As important as it is to honor our local veterans with ceremonies and memorials, it’s just as important, if not more, that we honor them by helping them to achieve and maintain a happy, healthy standard of living.

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The long-sought addition of a Veterans Services Center would go a long way toward achieving that mission. Advocates for the project envision it as a place where vets can receive various services, be referred to community partners, and to form a sense of family and community with other vets. It’s unfortunate that the former U.S. Army Reserve Center property at 404 Malcolm Drive in Westminster has not worked out for this center. However, Frank Valenti, president of the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project, has written that another location has been identified and preparations are moving forward (though details are still under wraps). We wish Valenti and all involved the best of luck with helping that project come to fruition.

Today ought to serve as a reminder of not just the value of our veterans, but also of important role the U.S armed forces play in the world. We must remember even the forgotten war.

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