For most Americans, June 25 came and went without fanfare. For the living Korean War veterans and their families, that date marked the 59th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, which has become known as “the forgotten war.”

With the current saber rattling by North Korea, Asia again has our utmost attention. Fifty-six years after an armistice was signed, there are still 28,500 American troops in South Korea, guarding that country from any repeat incursions.

Veterans Vern D. Scott and Paul Wolfgeher, both of Independence, are part of the 140 active members in the Kansas City Chapter of Korean War Veterans that are involved in “Tell America,” a national campaign to remind America that their generation prevented the oppressive scourge of communism from consuming South Korea.

Wolfgeher laments he doesn’t know why people don’t remember the Korean War.

“Sometimes I think it’s a lost cause, but we keep trying.” says Scott, a former commander of the KC chapter. “I think its better today, but the campaign doesn’t have adequate resources.”

Note: a 2002 Gallup poll of South Koreans revealed that only 31 percent knew how the war started.

Frank E. Cohee Jr., secretary of the national organization tells me, “There is a move on to refrain from calling it a ‘forgotten war’ but a ‘victorious war.’ As for our ‘Tell America’ campaign, people are absolutely responding in a positive way.”

Concerning North Korea’s brinkmanship he adds, “We try not to get involved due to the political ramifications plus thousands of our troops are still in harm’s way.”

Locally there is a fund drive on in an effort to erect a Missouri Korean Veterans Memorial on land donated by Kansas City located in Washington Park at the corner of Pershing and Main. K.C. Korean veteran Al Lemieux says they need $1.2 million to erect the memorial, which will perpetuate the legacy of Korean War Veterans especially the 900 from Missouri (100 from the Kansas City area) who make up the 33,741 American lives lost in that police action. Of the 1.5 million U.S. military to engage in that conflict only 900,000 remain alive.

In my tribute poem to the Korean vets “The Twenty-Fifth of June” I wrote:

   We didn’t ask for much

   We didn’t ask for more.

   Just a memorial,

   From this forgotten war.

To donate contact Lemieux at 816-804-2757 or e-mail

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.