My dad is a veteran of the Korean War. He was 20 when he came home from that war. So very young. My dad would call it a Police Action. Still does when he talks about it. He never talks about it. When we were kids, and prowling around our basement, we knew we could never touch “the trunk”. My dad had a trunk that held his uniform, his photo album from the war and some other things we didn’t know about. And his medals. The wooden photo album was a black lacquered, stitched together Asian enameled book that held pictures of him and his buddies. Once every few years he would bring that album out and he would talk about his friends. He never gave us details of war. Ever. He told us once that he and his friends diverted a small stream through the bottom of their tent, so they would have running water. He also said that they caught a snake once to eat because they wanted fresh meat. I am not sure what he did in the war, something about mapping the course of the troops, from the back, never at the front. I always knew we were getting a very edited view of his experience. He was 17 when he went. He lied about his age.
When I think of the Korean War I ponder that black trunk in the basement that my brother and I would sneak a peak. It was forbidden and smelled that way too. Rotted and dank. Our basement flooded every once in a while when we were really young, and I think it finally had to be thrown out. He kept the medals.
He remembers even if he doesn’t speak of it often. My brother-in-law has tried to elicit information. Sometimes he is successful but not frequently. Some of us will continue to try. We can’t forget.