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Publisher Description

In Washington, on 27 July 1995, in mid afternoon with the sun shining on a sea of fluttering flags, several thousand veterans of the Korean War gathered on the National Mall to cheer President Bill Clinton as he opened the Korean War Veterans Memorial with the South Korean president at his side. The year marked the anniversary, forty five years earlier, of the arrival of United States forces in Korea and the date, three years later, on which the Korean military armistice was signed. The bloody conflict that raged in the years between devastated the Korean peninsula and its people and caused almost as many casualties to the American forces as would the war in Vietnam. On the Mall that day, the old soldiers, many wearing pieces from their original uniforms, brought with them generations of family members. For veterans and the families, it was a day of celebration. It signalled the official recognition of a piece of American military history that had indelibly marked their lives. In the decade and a half since the opening of the Washington memorial there has been a veritable boom across the United States in monument building to the Korean War. (1) What is notable about the national Korean Veterans Memorial was not the inauguration, though raising the monument was not easily achieved. Rather, it was that during the preceding four decades Korea had been invisible in the national pantheon of war commemoration. The absence had gone unremarked, despite the fact that in American public life, and in the landscape of monuments that peg out the topography of official memory, a great many national commemorations hark back to the country's involvement in past wars. In the annals of American official memory, the conflict in Korea had been the "forgotten war". (2)

June 22
Journal of Social History
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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