BY EMILY HAGER , Chairwoman of Women Veterans Committee
This past Monday on June 25, 2018 Korean War Veterans from around East Tennessee joined together to enjoy lunch and to honor each other. 68 years have passed since the Korean War, and it is still referred to as the “forgotten war” as it is not often discussed. Knoxville Area Korean Association (KAKA) and Vet to Vet Tennessee partner to honor these veterans for their service and sacrifice. Some veterans were presented with the Ambassador for Peace medal issued from the South Korean government as a token of appreciation for defending their freedoms.
Veteran Porter Stanley says it was a time in his life he’ll never forget. “If you lost friends over there, every time it comes up, it means a lot,” he said. “I’m the least guy here to get a medal. I mean that sincerely, but I’ll take it for what my buddies did,” said Stanley.
“One of the things that we always wonder for those of us who have been in the military, and those of us who have gone to war, was it worth it?” said State Sen. Richard Briggs. “And when we look at the contrast of North and South Korea today, the American servicemen that sacrificed to go over there for their freedom, now has a country that’s one of the wealthiest in the world. Some of the largest companies in the world and they’re a beacon of freedom for all of Asia. So, in this particular conflict I think it’s fair to say that it was worth it.”
“When I came back, a lady interviewed me from the paper in Memphis. She said, ‘Don’t you feel like you just wasted a year of your life?’ I said, ‘No ma’am, there’s still a South Korea,’” said Stanley.
Thank you TN Senator Richard Briggs for your attendance, presentation, and hospitality. Thank you Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett for your attendance and greetings to local Korean War veterans. Thank you KAKA President Elena Lee, Vice President Jean Watkins, volunteers from KRMHC, KAKA, Redemption Church Soldier’s Heart, and Vet to Vet Tennessee who assisted in a successful Korean War Luncheon. It is because of your love and devotion that made the event extra special.