By Stephen Stirling
Elected officials and dozens of Queens veterans celebrated the inaugural Korean War Veterans' Day last week at the recently unveiled Korean War Memorial in Kissena Park.
State Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D-Flushing) presented a resolution recently passed by the state Legislature officially commemorating June 25 as Korean War Veterans' Day, a subject she said holds particular importance to her because she is a veteran's daughter.
“The hat [I wear] as Assembly member has been great, but wearing the hat as a proud veteran's daughter is much more important,” Young said.
The June 25 ceremony marked the 58th anniversary since the Korean War began June 25, 1950. More than 36,000 American soldiers died in the Korean War, which lasted more than three years before ending in July 1953.
Borough President Helen Marshall, state Sens. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and City Councilmen John Liu (D-Flushing) and James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) joined the commemoration.
New York Korean Consulate General Kyung-Keun Kim said that officially honoring the war's American and Korean veterans who live in Queens is long overdue.
“It is truly moving to see New Yorkers finally recognize the men who sacrificed their lives for their country,” Kim said.
The Korean War is often called the “forgotten war” because throughout the last several decades it has received far less attention in the public eye than World War II, which preceded it, and the Vietnam War, which followed it.
“To those who perpetuate the idea of “the Forgotten War,” I ask them to ask a veteran if they've forgotten. Ask them if they've forgotten what it was like to leave their homes, families and friends, travel half way around the world to aid the South Koreans whose greatest burning desire was to live free from opposition,” Young said.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.