Saturday, our family spent some special time honoring our favorite Marine, husband, step-dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, voracious reader and teller of crazy, funny, made-up stories, poems and songs!
Shown here our Marine, along with the other's who served, is being pinned with a lovely red, white and blue boutonnieres at a ceremony held in Portland, Oregon at Willamette National Cemetery's Korean War Memorial.
The boutonnieres and some of the planning for this event was done by The Children of the Chosin Few. This is a group formed to assist their fathers, grand-fathers and great grand-fathers with the organizing and planning of events, such as this one, and others to honor them throughout the year.
Our Marine is a part of a select group of men who served in Korea in the winter of 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir. The men who, proudly, wear their bright blue jacket.......members of an elite national group called the "Chosin Few".
Often read as "chosen few" and given a religious connotation....it is CHOSIN pronounced Cho-sin! Not chosen, this was duty no one would have chosen had they have know what they were facing.
Fresh out of high school in June of 1950, our Marine, enlisted in the service, went off to boot camp, turned 18 years old and was shipped off to the shores of Korea, arriving at the end of October in Pusan.
Communist North Korea had invaded South Korea in June of 1950. The United Nations sent in 49,000, mostly U.S. troops to assist the South. As the months went on, China came to the aid of the North Korean troops. They were being supplied with guns and ammunition by Russia, who was hoping to strengthen their hold on the region and spread Communism.
By the end of of November, our Marine and 15,000 other members of the 1st Marine Division, along with 3000 U. S. Army and about 2000 Royal British Marine Commandos were dispatched to north of the Chosin Reservoir. Unknown to them and their commanders the Chinese's had assembled approximately 180,000 "volunteer" soldiers and they were moving, under the cover of night, directly towards them.
Faced with over whelming odds..... for almost two weeks, the survivors of the Battle at the Chosin Reservoir fought their way out of the mountains in freezing cold weather......it was 40 degrees BELOW ZERO! Remember, this was long before Gore-Tex had been invented! They faced this weather in down jackets and wool insulated pants......almost all suffered some form of severe frost bite.
These brave warriors and survivors brought out ALL of their 2000 wounded, most of the 5000 dead, their tanks, trucks and other equipment and over 100,000 North Korean refugees. Arriving at the port of Hungnam, after nearly two weeks of walking and fighting to survive, they were evacuated by U. S. Navy ships back to Pusan.
If, you want to learn more, you can read about the Korean War here.The Korean War is often referred to as the Forgotten War. Schools make little mention of it and few people have ever heard of the Battle at the Chosin.....except younger Marines, who have heard the story and hold these men in great esteem.
Many of these men had already served in World Was II and were still in the Reserves, so they were called back to active duty in Korea. Most of these men are, now, in their late 70s, 80s and 90s.....time is now thinning their ranks!
The ceremony was concluded with the bugler playing "TAPS" in the background you can see the rows and rows of American flag that decorated the graves. Willamette National is a military cemetery.....those are the graves of many, many hero's!
I have noticed that many young people today are very appreciative of those who have served in the military, more so than I and my peers have been, I think.
So, next time you see a man in uniform or meet someone who has served just remember what they have suffered through to protect you and others...... and thank them for their service. It's a simple gift that is appreciated greatly!
I hope you had the honor of celebrating this Memorial weekend with your hero's, military or otherwise!
Let's visit some of the folks at Outdoor Wednesday to see what they've been up to!