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An anniversary of note.

Byline: The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 06/28/03): In this space in Friday's Register-Guard, we wrote that the armistice in the Korean War was signed on June 27, 1953. The actual date of the signing of the armistice was July 27, 1953.

Wednesday of this week marked the 53rd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, when North Korean soldiers invaded South Korea. Today marks the 50th anniversary of that war's end. Both days are significant in the history of the 20th Century and the role of the United States in it. And the fact that the Koreas are still in a militant mood toward each other heightens the need to take note of that three-year "forgotten war."

The Korean War is significant on several levels, not the least of which is the fact that it was the first war in which a world organization - the United Nations - played a military role. The U.N., which had come into existence only five years earlier, in 1945, called the North's invasion a violation of international peace and demanded that North Korea withdraw to behind its borders. When the North didn't, the U.N. asked its member nations to give military aid to South Korea. Sixteen U.N. member nations sent troops and 41 sent military equipment, food and other supplies. Ninety percent of the troops, equipment and supplies were provided by the United States. China entered the war on the side of North Korea and the then-Soviet Union provided the North with military equipment

The Korean War was one of the bloodiest in history, with about 1 million South Korean civilians killed and about 580,000 U.N. and South Korean troops killed. North Korea had about 1.6 million troops killed or wounded. The United States saw 54,246 of its troops killed and another 103,000-plus wounded.

The war also produced a memorable confrontation between President Harry Truman and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of the U.N. forces in the war. MacArthur argued - publicly - for total victory and he even advocated - also publicly - bombing military bases in China. Truman, who insisted he was overseeing a "police action" and fearing MacArthur's goals might lead to a third world war, concluded that MacArthur had to go. On April 11, 1951, the president replaced MacArthur with Gen. Matthew Ridgway. Other events unfolded to hasten the armistice. Dwight Eisenhower succeeded Truman as president and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin died, which cleared the way for Soviet leaders to seek a peaceful settlement to disputes.

The Korean War produced some memorable names: Pusan, Inchon, Heartbreak Ridge, Pork Chop Hill, Old Baldy, Changjin Reservoir and the 38th Parallel. The number of veterans of that long-ago war is dwindling. But today, and always, they should be remembered and assured that their "forgotten war" isn't forgotten at all.
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Title Annotation:Korean War armistice was 50 years ago; Editorials
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 27, 2003
Words:471
Previous Article:Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.
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