Help honour local residents who served during the Korean WarTuesday, March 19, 2013 by: SooToday.com Staff
Five local men were among 516 Canadians killed while defending peace and freedom during the Korean War, which raged from 1950 to 1953.
Listed on Sault Ste. Marie's courthouse cenotaph (shown) are the names of the fallen: R.V. Arnott, W.M. Burden, J.L. Quinn, R.H. Richards and E. Sauve.
Nine survivors of the conflict were honoured last September during a ceremony at Sault Ste. Marie's Branch 25, The Royal Canadian Legion.
Receiving the Republic of Korea's Ambassador of Peace Medal were Jim Brawley, Dan Desjardin, Joseph Gobet, Aurele LeBlanc, Richard LeClair, Gary Mancuso, Earl Mattice, Don Neal and Marland Smith.
Meanwhile, 2013 has been declared the Year of The Korean Veteran by the Government of Canada.
More than 26,000 Canadian men and women were in uniform during the conflict.
"The Korean War, Canada’s third bloodiest conflict, commenced in 1950," said John Bishop, national president of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada earlier this year.
"The 60th anniversary of the ceasefire will occur this year, and will be remembered by all those who served in Korea. We will not forget our 516 comrades who made the supreme sacrifice, or the 1,558 who were wounded."
"Canada’s military contributions to this war are remarkable and should never be forgotten," notes Veterans Affairs Canada.
"Canadian Veterans who served in this horrible conflict should be remembered for their remarkable military contribution. Help us celebrate this important milestone in Canadian history by recognizing our local Korean War Veterans."
Efforts are underway locally to further honour the sacrifices and contributions of Sault and area people who served.
In a news release, Sault MP Bryan Hayes calls on "all residents in the Sault area riding to submit their stories or identify members of our community who fought in the Korean War so they can be recognized."
All recommendations should be sent by mail to 369 Queen St. E. Sault Ste. Marie, P6A 1Z4 or by e-mail.
The following information about the Korean War is from the Veterans Canada website:
"Initial advances of North Korean troops reached Seoul, the capital of South Korea, but a September 1950 UN sea landing at Seoul’s port of Inchon forced the North Koreans to retreat. Seoul was re-captured by UN Forces, which then crossed the 38th Parallel, moving toward the Chinese border. Chinese forces intervened with a massive offensive that drove the UN and South Korean Armies back across the 38th Parallel to southern positions along the Imjin River.
"In mid-February 1951, units from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India joined to form one Commonwealth Force, as part of a north-eastern advance toward the 38th Parallel. Korea, a rugged country with hills, swamps and rice fields, also has periods of severe seasonal weather which hampered combat operations. By the end of March, Canadian troops were in the Kapyong Valley and in mid-April UN Forces were again north of the 38th Parallel.
"Western politicians debated invading China at the risk of expanding the war, but decided against such action and in late April 1951, with new troops and equipment, Chinese and North Korean forces struck in the western and west-central sectors. The aggressive Chinese advance forced US troops in the area to move back or risk being overrun by the enemy. Canadian and other Commonwealth troops entered the battle in the Kapyong Valley and helped the Americans retreat to safety. The Canadians were awarded a US Presidential Citation for this gallant action.
"Early in July 1951, ceasefire negotiations began. However, there would be two more years of fighting until the signing of the Armistice at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. The uneasy truce which followed left Korea a divided country, yet the first UN intervention in history effectively stopped the aggression, and the UN emerged from the crisis with enhanced prestige.
"As with the two world wars that preceded Korea, Canadians volunteered for military service far from home. More than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War, including sailors from eight destroyers and airmen who took part in many combat and transport missions. Canada’s military contribution was larger, in proportion to its population, than most other UN participants.
"Canada, as a nation, owes an everlasting debt of gratitude to those young men and women who, in the prime of their youth, have served and continue to serve their country to preserve global peace and protect fundamental human rights. Many made the ultimate sacrifice, and lie buried in countries far from their homes and loved ones. Many have returned from service with injuries to body and mind that they must carry with them for the rest of their lives. The names of 516 Canadians who died in service during the conflict are inscribed in the Korean War Book of Remembrance located in the Peace Tower in Ottawa.
"The collective experiences and stories of Canada’s Veterans provide Canadians with a proud and lasting legacy that will continue into the country’s future. Remembering and reflecting on the significance of the contribution they made, and continue to make, strengthens the commitment to preserve the values for which they fought.
"The Korean War marked a new stage in Canada’s development as a nation. Since the end of the war, Canada has contributed to many military operations around the world in an effort to promote international freedom and maintain world peace."