The following editorial appeared in the Seattle Times on Friday:
Sixty years ago a silent, brusque signing of an armistice treaty ended a bloody stalemate in Korea after 37 months.
President Obama will commemorate the moment at a ceremony, called Heroes Remembered, at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.
The Korean War began as a United Nations police action, pitting U.S. forces and allies against communist North Koreans, backed by China and the Soviet Union.
The police action, the Korean conflict, did not become the Korean War until a congressional designation in 1998.
Historian James Wright, writing in The Atlantic magazine, reminds us the reference to a Forgotten War dates back decades. Ambivalence over entry into the conflict, its bloody path and its amorphous ending in a military and diplomatic tie shoved it aside.
But the war is fresh in the minds of those who lost loved ones and colleagues among the 36,574 U.S. troops killed.
The Korean campaign, as Wright points out, established a pattern repeated over the next six decades, of undeclared wars, inconsistent or unclear military goals, affiliations with undemocratic regimes, undependable military allies, and little consensus on the missions and investment of young lives.
The inconclusive end of the Korean War rankled military leaders, and if the civilian population did not forget the war, it was not dwelled upon.
The legacy of the war, which includes a commitment of troops in South Korea, is the bravery of the men and women who answered the call to duty. They served with distinction and their service is remembered and saluted.