TILTON — The Korean Conflict, too often known as America's forgotten war, was remembered yesterday within days of the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the bloodshed at the New Hampshire Veterans Home where 62 of its residents — eight of them women — who served during the war were commemorated.
"it's very humbling to see people who made sacrifices so long ago," Army Lt. Col. Dennis Snelling began. He told the more than 100 veterans, many in wheelchairs, guests and caregivers that as he has traveled the country presiding at like ceremonies "the common refrain has been, 'Don't let the American people forget us.'"
Snelling presented the veterans, including nearly a dozen from the Lakes Region, with a certificate honoring and thanking them for their service, speaking briefly, snapping to attention and saluting smartly before each. As he approached several of those in wheelchairs rose to meet him and returned his salute. Those from the Lakes Region were Elaine Baker of Gilford, Arthur Brown and John O'Callaghan of Meredith, Robert Ball and Warner Desmarais of Wolfeboro, Norman Joyce, Richard Lemay, Howard Pease and David Pryor of Laconia, Alphonse Beaule and Vincent Mulligan of Belmont and Gladys Renoe of Alexandria.
Pease noted that the ceremony recognized all those who served during the years of the conflict wherever they were stationed. He said that he spent two years in Germany manning 155 millimeter howitzers in a field artillery unit. Reflecting on the sacrifices made and hardships endured by the forces in Korea, he eyed his certificate and said, "It doesn't kind of seem right."
A video, produced by the government of the Republic of Korea, recalled the carnage and destruction of the war while expressing the gratitude of the Korean people to the men and women of the American armed forces who, together with their United Nation allies, repulsed the invasion by North Korea and checked the advance of Communist China. With liberation and peace, Korea embarked on reconstruction and development and now ranks as the tenth strongest economy in the world. To the veterans of the conflict, the Koreans proclaimed "You will always be our heroes."
"I'll be honest," said U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, "I invited myself here today. She said that her uncle flew in the Korean Conflict and remembered "people didn't talk about the Korean War." She assured the assembled veterans, "We know your stories and we are grateful to all of you."