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Public Statements

Tribute To Korean War Veterans

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. McCASKILL. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize and pay tribute to our Korean war veterans and to express my strong support for and admiration of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the nonprofit partner of the Truman Library, that is leading our Nation's commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean war. On this important anniversary, we must not forget the lessons from this oft-forgotten war, nor the men and women who demonstrated legendary courage and valor in the face of unspeakable brutality.

Sixty years ago in Independence, MO, on June 25, 1950, President Harry S. Truman received word that the free people of South Korea had been invaded by some 135,000 communist troops from the North. America's 33rd President responded swiftly and decisively, for, in his words, ``In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak.'' Today, the fateful crossing of the 38th parallel by communist forces stands as the opening paragraph of one of the most brutal chapters in our American history, the Korean war.

It is impossible to understand our world today--and to have an informed view on the conflict that continues to seethe on the Korean peninsula--without understanding the Korean war. And yet, the first conflict in the Cold War is sometimes called the ``Unknown War,'' or worse, the ``Forgotten War'' because it is not widely taught, studied or understood. That is why, on this important occasion, we must rise to honor the courage and sacrifice of our Korean war veterans--so we can never forget.

We cannot and will not forget that nearly 1.8 million Americans served in Korea, along with the forces of the Republic of Korea and 20 other members of the United Nations, to defend freedom and democracy. We will not forget that nearly 33,739 Americans died in battle during the war. We will not forget that nearly 92,100 troops were wounded in action during the conflict. We will not forget that more than 8,100 men and women never came home, and are still listed as missing in action or prisoners of war.

We have, as we recognize the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean war, an important opportunity to examine the roots and legacy of the Korean war and to honor each individual who, in the defense of freedom, bravely faced aggression of devastating tyranny. I urge all Americans to observe the 60th anniversary of the Korean war and to take this opportunity to learn about the conflict and, most importantly, the men and women who participated in it. Their legacy is one of great honor. I want to recognize the Korean War Veterans Appreciation Ceremony--held on June 21, 2010, in the hometown of one of Nation's great leaders, President Harry S Truman, as a sterling symbol of our Nation's commitment to always remember, understand, and honor our brave Korean war heroes and the history of the Korean war.

I want to especially recognize the men and women at the Harry S Truman Library Institute who tirelessly labored to make the Appreciation Ceremony possible and a tremendous success. It is with great regret I will not be able to join many Missourians, many veterans, my esteemed colleague, Congressman Ike Skelton, who is a tremendous student of military history, and keynote speaker GEN David Petraeus, a modern-day American war hero, on June 21 in Independence to recognize this anniversary and celebrate Korean war veterans. However, I know this will be a momentous event on a momentous occasion. I stand with all of those at the event in remembering the Korean war, in honoring Korean war veterans, in paying respect to the remaining POWs and MIAs and the fallen servicemembers, and in celebrating America's freedom, which has for so long been guaranteed by our fighting men and women.

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