President Obama on Saturday thanked the 1.8 million Americans who risked their lives in the Korean War, and said the veterans who returned to the U.S. deserved a better homecoming than what they received 60 years ago.
“Ask these veterans here today and many will tell you: compared to other wars, theirs was a different kind of homecoming,” Obama said in a speech at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.
In paying homage to a conflict sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War,” Obama said unlike World War II, the Korean War did not galvanize the country, nor did it tear America apart as did the Vietnam War.
“Among many Americans tired of war, there was it seemed a desire to forget—to move on.”
The war, which lasted from 1950-1953, ended 60 years ago Saturday with a truce signing. More than 36,000 Americans were killed in the conflict that pit U.S.-led United Nations and South Korean forces against North Korea and China.
Obama hailed the legacy left by those who fought in the battle, and said the 50 million South Koreans who live in freedom—a stark difference from their countrymen in the North—were proof of their victory.
“Here in America, no war should ever be forgotten and no veteran should be overlooked,” Obama said Saturday.