for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
This week marks an important date in history. It came to mind as I
reflect on several great conversations with our Adjutant Eli Prater. He
is a veteran of the Korean War, some call “conflict”. Aside from legal
terminology, I personally consider it war when our soldiers are called
into battle at cost of life or limb. That war ended with an agreement
to halt hostilities July 27th 1953. So while I was learning to crawl,
Eli was defending my freedoms from encroaching Communism.
If you haven’t seen the Korean War Memorial in the Mall at the foot of
the Lincoln Memorial, it is a haunting vision of the pain of war. It was
a misty cold evening when I saw it. Lights from below cast through the
cold fog cast a surreal image of soldiers worn and tired with hollow
eyes marching forward to whatever mission they had been assigned. I did
a short TDY (temporary duty assignment) at Kunsan Air Force Base in
1995, the home of the Wolf Pack. I found that even then our level of
readiness and tension remained at a high level. Now with the ascent to
power of the former nut job’s son, it continues to be a place in
It was June 25, 1950. The Korean War began when approximately 75,000
soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th
parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to
the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.
By July, our soldiers had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As
far as America was concerned, it was a war against the forces of
international communism itself.
Due to the division of Berlin, with the Soviet Union claiming territory
after the defeat of the Nazis, it became clear another power was
expanding and oppressing civilization. After some early back-and-forth
across the 38th parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted
with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, American officials worked
anxiously to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The
alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China–or
even, as some warned, World War III. Finally, on July 27th 1953, the
Korean War came to an end. In all, some 5 million soldiers and
civilians lost their lives during the war. The Korean peninsula is
still divided today. Thank you for your service Eli. (Thanks to
Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at
1900 hours (7:00 PM). Our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings have
started back up thanks the Post Adjutant Eli Prater and Jerry Sebert.
Over biscuits and gravy (or waffles) we will keep up on each other’s
mischievous doings. It run generally from 7 am to 9 am. I know I am
going to be there! If you are a veteran come join us. You will have a
good time. And, if you have a good story it may end up in print.