Four Marines are happy to receive some good news on July 26, 1953, at their location in western Korea. They were reading news announcing that an armistice was to be signed in Panmunjom the next day that would officially end hostilities.
Those Marines — one of whom (far right) is identified as Pfc. Thomas W. O’Connell, of Hammond, Wis. — headed home soon after. But the armistice merely stopped the shooting. A formal peace treaty never was signed, and North Korea and South Korea technically remain at war to this day.
VFW is proud of its Korean War members and the service and sacrifice of all the war’s U.S. veterans.
A total of 36,576 Americans — according to Battles of the Korean War, VFW’s official history of the conflict — sacrificed their lives on the peninsula. The duty that U.S. troops logged there was crucial.
While the Cold War endured into the 1990s and communism remained a threat, the Korean War was a victory for democracy. U.S. veterans of the war helped save South Korea and Japan from what looked to be an inevitable takeover. Now, 65 years later, the prosperity enjoyed by those citizens stands in stark contrast to the misery endured by the people of North Korea.
VFW salutes all Korean War veterans for a job well done. Thank you for your service.
This article is featured in the 2018 June/July issue of VFW magazine. Photo by Georget E. Sweers/Associated Press.