Story and photos by John Hummer Exponent staff writer
It’s known as the “Forgotten War.” It was also referred to simply as a “conflict” or a “police action” but veterans of the Korean War at the Wilbur Bartlett American Legion Post 315 in Brooklyn finally got their due Friday.
Certificates of appreciation were given out to Korean War veterans for recognition of their service by the highest man in the state in the American Legion, Brett Holt, department commander for the State of Michigan.
“The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War” so it’s even more important that we recognize the Korean War veterans and make sure that they understand that their service is appreciated and it’s not forgotten,” he said. “My father was a Korean War veteran, so it was near and dear to my heart to be here tonight.”
Robert Wahr was a Korean War era veteran present at the ceremony.
“Twice I was told I was going to Korea, but ended up going to Germany,” he said. Wahr fulfilled his duty there as a member of the military police. He had the honor of seeing President Dwight Eisenhower several times while on duty. He also saw former president Harry Truman and his wife, Margaret.
Post 315 Adjutant William McMurray was the master of ceremonies.
“This is the first time the Wilbur Bartlett Post has recognized the Forgotten Warriors,” he said. “They’re called the Forgotten Warriors’ because back when it happened, the President didn’t want to say ‘We’re at war’. It was ‘we’re engaged in a ‘police action’ or a ‘conflict – but if you’re over there freezing your hiney off and getting shot at you’re in a war. Because it ended in a truce – it was not the victory like all the other wars we’ve been engaged in – they were forgotten. Just pushed off to the side.
In the American Legion, we’re all equally a veteran, McMurray said. “These guys needed a little attention and a little love, and we gave it to them. It’s probably the biggest deal they’ve encountered since they’ve gotten out of the service. It was our pleasure to do this for them.”