Korean War

by Mike Peters

The Korean War has often been called "The Forgotten War."  Until recently it carried the moniker of a "police action," since Congress never formally declared war.  It was the first war we did not win.  Some might say that it was the first war we were not allowed to win.  That stigma probably was the catalyst for the amnesia that followed.

WV definitely had its share of men answer the call over there in the "cold hell" of Korea.  The war's first casualty, many of you know, was Wyoming County's Kenneth Shadrick.  Stan "the Man" Browning, of the Wyoming County list, was also there as was Dickens family historian, Justin Kirk Dickens.  A couple of my surname from neighboring Raleigh County fought there--my father Shelby H. Peters and his first cousin Jack Dempsey Peters. Jack died there. My father said he left his childhood there.

And now we get news that former POW Herbert Howell Buchanan died in
Newcomerston, Ohio, a small town famous because of two of its past residents--former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes and Baseball Hall of Famer "Cy"Young. The former, Coach Hayes and himself a WW II veteran, was also a military historian who fancied himself a student of General Patton.  Patton, as quoted by W. Darrell Miller, said, "The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one's country."

In his last E-mail, W. Darrell Miller talked of "backwardness" re the parade that honored Korean War hero Herbert Howell Buchanan when he returned home, while most of the veterans in other areas came home to no fanfare.  To quote Mr. Miller, "there was a big parade and all were unanimous in their enlightened perception that a hero was among us."

I don't call that "backwardness." My assessment is that Wyoming County, unlike others, chose to remember instead of forget the veterans of the conflict, the police action, the WAR that was Korea.

Maybe the second highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is turning out to honor those of the first.


Mike Peters

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