ATHENS — With Concord University's Campus Beautiful in the background Friday, Kue Hee Boyer couldn’t keep herself from crying when Gene Shinnault played "Taps" in honor of Korean War veterans.
“My husband died about five years ago,” Boyer said, as Concord University saluted Korean War veterans. “I was just thinking about the sacrifice he made to help the place that I’m from.”
Boyer’s husband served as one of the thousands of U.S. troops that have stood ready on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone to prevent a North Korean invasion ever since the fighting ended on July 27, 1953.
Had she talked to Korean War veteran Lance Bowman, she would have been reminded of how her husband and thousands of other American soldiers had helped to create one of the premier economic powers in the world today.
“I went over to Korea as part of a program from the South Korean government,” Bowman explained before the ceremony started, “I didn’t recognize anything that I saw when I was over there. I think they said that South Korea was the 14th richest nation in per capita income today.”
Bowman could only shake his head and marvel at the amazing transformation the southern half of the Korean peninsula had made in 60 years.
And an emotional Concord President Greg Aloia sought to remind people gathered at Friday’s ceremony of that sacrifice.
“We’re here today to remember not only the Korean War veterans here today,” Aloia said, “We’re also here to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect democracy on the Korean peninsula.”
Aloia used a quote from Colin Powell to explain that even “America’s Forgotten War” had shown the virtues of the U.S. military-valor, dignity, and dedication- while pausing to fight back tears of his own.
He held up one of the buttons that were given out before he spoke.
“This quote [Freedom is not free] on here is absolutely true,” Aloia reminded the crowd.
— Contact Matt Christian at email@example.com.