It was America’s forgotten war. Often overlooked because it took place between World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War was ferociously fought for three years in the early 1950s and claimed the lives of more than 36,000 U.S. servicemembers.

This year marks the 70 anniversary of the end of hostilities in Korea. Although an armistice formally stopped the fighting in July 1953, a peace treaty has never been signed. On paper, the war between North and South Korea never ended.

To ensure those who served and sacrificed in this conflict are remembered, the USS Midway Museum held a special movie night to honor the Korean War veterans. Nearly 400 people gathered in the ship’s hangar bay to watch a special showing of the motion picture “Devotion” which tells the heart-wrenching and true story of heroism, friendship and sacrifice of two naval aviators during the Korean War.

The event’s special guest who spoke to the audience prior to the start of the film was Korean War veteran and American hero George Sousa. A corporal in the U.S. Army, George was a multiple Purple Heart recipient sustaining combat wounds at both the Battle of Bloody Ridge and the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge early in the war.

“We suffered around 4,000 casualties taking Bloody Ridge in September 1951,” remembered George, who graduated from Pt. Loma High School in 1948. “We then jumped off onto Heartbreak Ridge and it was another really tough battle. The Chinese and North Koreans were on the top of the ridgeline shooting down on us. A round landed in the middle of us and I was the only survivor in my squad. I had shrapnel in my stomach and leg.”

 For John Vasquez, the education director for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum in San Diego, the Korean war touched his family through the service of his grandfather.

My grandfather was both at the landings at Inchon and at Chosin Reservoir,” said John, who provided a Korean War exhibit for the event on Midway. “When I think about this conflict, I think about it shaping his life and ultimately my family’s life. It was also a very significant conflict in America’s history, because it was the first hot conflict of the Cold War that helped shape the latter half of the 20th century.”

Although seven decades have passed, George continues to carry the memories of the fighting and friends lost to this day. Early this year, he had the opportunity to return to Korea for the first time since he left the county in 1952. The experience had a profound impact on the 93-year-old veteran.

“The war was a tough time, but after going back to Korea and looking at the country today, I can say that it was well worth the battles we fought because we helped them so much,” said George, whose parents immigrated to San Diego from Portugal. “We got off the plane and saw all these young Korean children waving little American flags saying, ‘God bless America and thank you for our freedom.’ That did it all for me. It finally gave me closure for the war.”

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