In light of the signing of the Korean War armistice 60 years ago, July 27, 1953, my thoughts as a veteran of that war do not turn to the world's leaders' diplomatic blunders and pointless miscalculations.
Instead, my thoughts now revert to the men who fought in those terrible days; and the loyalty we displayed to each other. We fought in a difficult war that the rest of the country had largely turned its back on. And we fought under the most difficult physical circumstances imaginable.
Nevertheless, what most of us take pride in is the success, the miracle of the Republic of Korea.
Contrast that with the failure of the current North Korean leadership, which has failed at almost every aspect of building a decent society. It has evolved into an outlaw state that cannot feed or house its own people. It has only one strength, a nuclear arsenal.
Korea, many pundits allege, was not a victory. It was a stalemate.
But as I remind my cynical Korean War comrades, it was a victory! Presidents Truman and Eisenhower met the North Korean and Chinese challenge with force. The point was made. The United States and the Western alliance are stronger and safer because of our sacrifices.
Today, the Republic of Korea has the world's 13th largest economy and is a leading global supplier of cell phones, flat-screen TVs, ships and steel. It was made possible by the sacrifices of young American men and women and our U.N. allies who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they had never met.
George Staudt, Kirby Stewart American Legion Post 24Bradenton