June 25 marks the 72nd anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Technically speaking, since no peace treaty has ever been signed to permanently terminate hostilities, the Allied nations and North Korea remain at war. Instead, an armistice – an agreement to temporarily cease hostilities – remains in effect. The Armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
Approximately 5.7 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces served during the Korean War to defeat the spread of Stalinist-style tyranny on that Asian peninsula. Of those 5 million plus, some 34,000 made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom on the Korean peninsula.
The North Korean threat is very real. North Korea still maintains one of the largest, forward deployed standing armies in the world. North Korea’s offensive, bellicose posture — coupled with its continuing development of ballistic missiles, weapons of mass destruction, and highly trained special operations forces — causes the Korean peninsula to be highly volatile.
North Korea has reneged on almost every international agreement. Furthermore, that rogue state participates in human trafficking, terrorist activities, the narcotics and weapons trade, and in the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. North Korea continues its long standing policy of disrupting the stability on the Korean peninsula and the Pacific theater, of undermining efforts to combat international terrorism, and of weakening the enduring and endearing alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America, an alliance forged on the battlefield and sealed by the lives of those who courageously fought to preserve freedom and democracy.
The Republic of Korea and the United States continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a combined effort to defend “Freedom’s Frontier” along the 38th parallel. Our two nations remain firmly committed to preserving the peace, prosperity, and liberty in the Republic of Korea.
Regrettably, the Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War.” I urge all Americans and Koreans to think about the sacrifices made by those brave individuals who defended Korea against aggression and oppression.
Let’s all remember the valuable lesson of the Korean War: Freedom is never free.
John Di Genio