Events more than half a century ago on the Korean Peninsula are merely the stuff of history books for most Americans. But for a few, including many West Virginians and Ohioans, they were a matter of life and death.
Sixty years ago this month, the Korean War ended in what many historians refer to as a stalemate. That, and the relative lack of thought many of their fellow Americans seemed to give to their sacrifices, grated on many U.S. veterans for decades.
Officially, it was not even a war. Washington referred to it as a "police action" or a "conflict," despite the fact the war took about 36,574 American lives, wounded another 103,284 and left 2,830 missing in action.
West Virginia and Ohio had disproportionately high casualties. About 814 Mountain State residents died in the war. Ohio's death toll was 1,823.
During recent years, more Americans have come to understand what our men and women in uniform accomplished during the Korean War - along with the debt we owe them. In many ways, they won a major victory in a very real war. For that, they deserve the fervent, continuing thanks of a grateful nation.