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Korean War veterans recognized at anniversary event in Funkstown

July 14, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Retired South Korean Maj. Gen. Choi Seung-Woo was one of several speakers Sunday during an event at the Funkstown American Legion post to honor Korean War veterans from Maryland and Virginia.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — Almost 63 years ago, Tri-State area residents Paul Summers and John Jackson were approximately 6,700 miles away as American, British and South Korean forces, though outnumbered, fought off Chinese soldiers in below-zero temperatures.

Warren H. Wiedhahn, a retired U.S. Marine colonel, recalled the decisive Chosin Reservoir battle Sunday as he spoke to about 150 people at the Funkstown American Legion post.

Describing two veteran buddies reflecting on the battle and arguing about whether it was 30 degrees below zero or 35 degrees below, Wiedhahn recalled, “I said ‘What the hell’s the difference? It was cold.’”

Remembering how cold it was at the North Korean reservoir, Jackson said he had no desire to return to Korea, but he was appreciative of retired South Korean Maj. Gen. Choi Seung-Woo visiting and honoring Korean War veterans during Sunday’s ceremony.

Choi presented certificates of appreciation and medals to approximately 100 Korean War veterans from Maryland and Virginia.

“The United States will be long remembered as our savior,” Choi told the group of veterans, accompanied by their family members and friends.

Choi expressed gratitude for American veterans’ sacrifices and said those who did not survive the war did not die in vain.

He said their sacrifice helped provide “peace and freedom” in South Korea for the last 60 years.

Sunday’s ceremony was one of several planned in the local area and across the country to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

“Well, I think it was very nice that they recognize what we done for ’em,” said retired Sgt. Paul Summers, 83, of Waynesboro, Pa.

Jackson, 84, of Hagerstown, and retired Capt. Robert Glausier, 81, of Boonsboro, said they thought the ceremony was wonderful.

“The fact that ... somebody would come here to us to make this kind of a presentation ... just a great honor,” said Hagerstown resident Les Bishop, commander of Antietam Chapter 312 of the Korean War Veterans Association.

Other veterans honored Sunday were in Korean War Veterans Association chapters from Frederick, Md.; Aberdeen, Md.; Baltimore; Winchester, Va.; Suffolk, Va.; and Richmond, Va.

Bishop said there were another 40 certificates for veterans who didn’t attend Sunday’s ceremony. Veterans were eligible if they served in the military during the Korean War, regardless of where they were stationed, he said.

Wiedhahn, who spoke to the group before the medal presentation, is a retired colonel and executive director of the U.S.-Korean War Commemoration Foundation.

On Sunday, July 21, the Antietam Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association will host a public event at the Funkstown American Legion post that will include speakers.

Those speakers are Ed Chow, Maryland’s secretary of veterans affairs; Col. David Clark, director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee; and Lt. Col. Kang Moon Ho, assistant defense attache at the South Korean Embassy, Bishop said.

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