Iowa’s Korean War veterans will be honored at a ceremony Saturday in Des Moines. The U.S. Department of Defense is presenting all Korean War vets with a special certificate to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war.
Sid Morris, a Korean War Veteran from Cedar Falls, says it’s unclear how many Iowans who served during the war are still alive, but this event is providing some clues.
“We’ve probably gotten a hold of at least a couple thousand Korean vets who will hopefully receive that certificate from the Department of Defense,” Morris said. More than 85,000 Iowans served during the Korean War era, between June 1950 and January 1954.
Morris, who serves as chair of the Tall Corn Chapter of Iowa’s Korean War Veterans Association, served in the 7th Infantry Division and was involved the famous Battle of Pork Chop Hill. “You know, it was regarded as ‘the forgotten war’ and for many years people really didn’t realize the importance of that war,” Morris said.
“It was the first war we entered into to stop the spread of Communism and we were successful.” The United States helped defend South Korea after an invasion by Communist North Korea launched the conflict on June 25, 1950.
“If you look at the peninsula today, the 10th or 11th largest economy in the world is South Korea. Which is the worst economy in the world? Just north of it. That, in itself, explains the importance of that war,” Morris said.
The commemoration ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus. The ceremony is free and open to the public.