The Korean War Veterans Memorial was very different than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial we visited earlier this week. The Vietnam Memorial was more personal with the names of all those soldiers lost in the conflict.
As I entered the Korean memorial, I walked along another black reflective wall. This time there was only shadowy faces looking back at me. Hard to focus on them as they seemed to be placed randomly from top to bottom. Across from the wall was a squad of soldiers making their way through swampy terrain somewhere on the Korean peninsula. Maybe a rice paddy. They had on rain gear which covered them and any gear they were carrying. However, that is not what I remember most about them. I remember the faces. Haunting they were and almost ghost-like in their appearance and purpose. The Korean War is often called the Forgotten War. I will tell you now, I will never forget those faces…
After taking the top photo you see above, I walked down the other side of the soldiers. I was again concentrating on the faces when I saw the reflections of the soldiers in the black wall which was now behind them filling in the areas around the shadow faces of other soldiers. The squad became an army of soldiers lost in the “police action” which accounted for over 54,000 American causalities with another 103,000 wounded.
As a young boy, I never understood the reason for such memorials as the Korean and Vietnam ones I showed you this week. As an older adult, I now see and understand why we have them.