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NEWS | Nov. 16, 2015

I Corps Salutes Korean-era Veterans

By Sgt. Daniel Schroeder

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – This year, America’s Corps honored Korean War-era service members during a Salute Ceremony Nov. 13, here.

The ceremony focused on the service of veterans throughout United States history.

The salute began with Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, I Corps commanding general, honoring and recognizing the sacrifice and continued loyalty of the veterans in attendance.

“Today we recognize the service of our veterans, specifically our Korean War veterans,” said Lanza. “You have served with moral distinction and we are eternally grateful. More importantly, I thank you for answering the call to duty of our nation.”

Lanza then introduced Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Hemphill as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

Hemphill deployed to Korea a year after receiving his commission. He served as the commander of the Infantry rifle company which fought and held several key positions during the war, including the infamous Pork Chop Hill.

“It was a tough war,” Hemphill said. “No one understands what took place during the Korean War. We had just gotten done with World War II, thinking we were going to go out and build a better world. That wasn’t so.”

During his speech Hemphill recalled his time during the war and how the country looked. He remembered a recent visit to the Republic of South Korea when he saw more than 50 grade school-aged children waving American flags saying something in Korean.

He later asked what the children were saying and was told they were saying “Thank you, American veteran.”

“I read something that the Korean War is the Forgotten War,” said Hemphill. “It’s not forgotten by the people of the Republic of South Korea. They remember the United States Soldiers who came ashore there.”

Korean Consul General Duk-ho Moon, Consulate General of the Republic of South Korea in Seattle, followed Hemphill as the second guest speaker for the ceremony.

Moon expressed his gratitude for the veterans’ service and the mentorship veterans continue to provide to future generations.

“Without your presence, without you coming to save our people during the Korean War, how could South Korea stand how it is now,” said Moon. “You can see our northern brothers suffering. We see South Korea as a bright and shining island and I want to extend to you our South Korean government and people’s deep gratitude to your people and veterans.”

As a token for honoring the veterans, each received a certificate of appreciation presented by Lanza and Command Sgt. Maj. James Norman III, I Corps command sergeant major.

“The presence of these veterans and those currently serving demonstrates that you do not stop serving this great country, even after the uniform comes off,” said Lanza. I thank you for your service to the nation and remaining a Soldier for Life.”
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