Comrades, I have been remiss in that I have failed to mention the “Forgotten War” in our ongoing blogs on Remembrance – our mission as Legionnaires.
In the vacuum created by the defeat and removal of the old Japanese Empire from its position as ruler, the Russians and Chinese had established their Communist ideology. Meanwhile, with the aid of America, an effort was made to establish democracy south of the 38th Parallel. Those powers then largely left the two halves to their own devices.
The Korean War followed an uneasy period of Peace between the now Communist North and the Democratic Republic to the South.
It was a situation that simmered until, on June 25th 1950, the Northern army crossed the dividing line and were successful in confining the South to a pocket surrounding Pusan. They had overrun Seoul and the remainder of the Country.
The UN, including Canada responded. Canada’s initial involvement was a Naval one followed by air support and ultimately, following training in the US, the 2nd Battalion of the PPCLI.
The Communist Army was pushed back North of the 38th Parallel at which point, the Chinese Army was sent in. Following fierce fighting, discussions started in 1952 regarding a ceasefire. An Armistice was signed on July 27th 1953 which is still in force today. Technically, then, the war is still active.
Some 26 000 Canadians participated in the conflict with more than 1500 wounded. More than 500 Canadians paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring “peace” to that country.
Lest We Forget.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Monument to Canadian Fallen – UN Memorial Cemetary, Busan, South Korea (Background Image)
The monument shows an unarmed Canadian soldier holding a young Korean girl and guiding a Korean boy. The children represent the generations of Koreans who live in freedom thanks to those who served and those who made the supreme sacrifice. The girl is holding a bouquet of 21 maple leaves, representing the 16 Canadians with no known grave and the five Canadian sailors lost at sea. The boy is holding a bouquet in which maple leaves are mixed with roses of Sharon, the national flower of Korea, as a symbol of the friendship between the two countries. The monument bears the inscription: “We’ll never forget you brave sons of Canada” in English, French and Korean, along with the names of the 516 Canadian soldiers who died serving in the Korean War.