Flight deck ceremony paid special tribute to Korean War veterans
Since the American Revolution, nearly 1.4 million U.S. servicemembers have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
Once again, Midway paid tribute to those fallen heroes with a solemn flight deck Memorial Day ceremony. This year’s commemoration specifically honored those to fought during the Korean War.
The Korean War is often referred to as the “Forgotten War” because the early 1950s conflict was sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War. However, more than 33,000 servicemembers perished during the fighting.
“I landed at Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950 at Red Beach and then moved inland to take Seoul,” said Joe Kalla, a Marine Corps sergeant during the war who is now a Midway volunteer. “For my comrades in the Marines, I’ll never forget. I think about them a lot. They were good pals.”
Joe, along with five other veterans recently returned to Korea where they were honored nearly 70 years after helping liberate Seoul.
“When we took Seoul, there were no bridges across the Han River and now there are 34 bridges across the Han,” said Joe. “At that time, being a young guy, we were there just to fight a war, we really didn’t know what we were doing for the Korean people. The city is beautiful now and the people of Korea still appreciate us.”
Joe, along with Navy veteran Tom Crosby, who also served during the Korean War, were the guest speakers during Midway’s commemoration ceremony.
“Thank you for honoring the Korean War veterans,” said Tom during the event. “Any time veterans are recognized for what we did, we appreciated it. I appreciate when someone says, ‘thank you for your service.’”
Tom’s decision to join the Navy actually had its roots in his harrowing experiences as a child during World War II. Born in the Philippines, Tom has his family spent three years in a Japanese prison camp in Manila.
“The reason why I joined the Navy during the Korean war was to thank the United States of America for liberating my family and me after being in a Japanese prison camp during World War II,” said Tom.
Midway’s commemoration concluded with a wreath-laying ceremony honoring all American’s who served and sacrificed.