Monday, September 5, 2005

Korean War Memorial display honoring GI contributions to Korean children

A message from Dr. George F. Drake, Ph.D., the coordinator of the Korean War Children's Memorial Project in Bellingham, Washington:
On behalf of my fellow Korean War Veterans I write to invite you to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. on the 7th of September 2005 at the War Museum of Korea in Seoul for the "opening" of the photo exhibit entitled GIs and the Kids - A Love Story: American Forces and the Children of Korea 1950-1954. The photo exhibit is co-sponsored by the War Museum of Korea and the Korean Welfare Foundation, Dr. Kim Suk San, President.

Here is a story of love and compassion of an immense scale. During the war years we (I was there and helped in this regard) saved the lives of over 10,000 children, helped support over 54,000 in more than 400 orphanages, many built or repaired by our servicemen. In the three years of the war we donated over two million dollars for orphanage aid from a pay of less than $100 a month. We wrote home to mom, pop, neighbors and friends seeking donations and the folks back home responded by sending thousands of tons of aid for the children and their care givers. William F. Asbury, former managing editor of the Seattle P.I. newspaper, calls US forces in the Korean War "an army of compassion."

Our servicemen had to be taught to aim a weapon at another human and shoot to kill. They did not have to be taught to offer solace to a crying child, feed a hungry child, take an injured child to the medic or find shelter for a homeless child. That came with being American. Here is a story that needs to be told to the current generation of Koreans. All Koreans knew immediately when a US military vehicle tragically killed two Korean girls several years ago. I would venture none of the younger generation in Korea realizes the extent to which we GIs saved and supported tens of thousands of Korean children in that war over 50 years ago. We hope you will be able to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony but, if not, we encourage you to visit the exhibit at your convenience during the period it will be at the museum (6-18 September 2005).

The contribution to South Korea's freedom and independence that GIs have made is immense, but often forgotten. I know I will make time to see this exhibit.

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