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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Korean War Memorial, Roseville

June 28, 2014
Speeches

On June 28th, 2014 Congressman McClintock spoke at the annual ceremony in Roseville honoring those who served in the Korean War:

 

Korean War Memorial

June 28, 2014

 

They call the Korean War America’s forgotten war.  It must never be forgotten, and all of you who are here today, and all those who made this memorial possible, assure that it will never be forgotten.

It was 64 years ago this past Wednesday that the North Korea dictatorship, supported by the communist governments of the Soviet Union and China, launched a massive attack upon the South.  Thus began the Korean War.  

Three years later, 54,000 American soldiers had been killed in action; 103,000 American soldiers had been wounded in combat – this was a war that was vastly more costly that our recent wars in the Middle East.    

A Forgotten War?  Not by those who waged it.  Not by those who survived it.  Not by those families who lost loved ones.  And thanks to your good work, not by every American who passes by this place in the years and decades and centuries to come.

This memorial will help keep their memory alive.

It is important that we do so – because their achievement remains alive today.  It is personified in a free and prosperous Republic of Korea that has been a beacon of hope to the oppressed people throughout the Asian continent, and a steady counterbalance to the malignant presence of the North Korean dictatorship.  

North Korea’s government remains today, as it was then, a vexatious presence, a bloody stain on history – a bane to its people and an obnoxious neighbor to the nations of the region.  

But had it not been for the sacrifice of our Korean War veterans, South Korea would have shared its fate, and the world would face a dramatically more dangerous and unstable world on the Pacific Rim.  

In a larger sense, it has been said that the Third World War has already been won – we simply called it by a different name: the Cold War.  If that is true, Korea was perhaps the most important battle in that war, because it defined the limits of aggression beyond which the Communist dictatorships could not go without being resisted by the free peoples of the world.  It set the parameters for the Cold War and set in motion the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today, we face new challenges and threats from which the lessons of Korea can protect us.  Those lessons were perhaps best summed up by General MacArthur when he gave his famous farewell address to Congress.  He said:

       “Once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.

        “War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.

       “In war there is no substitute for victory.”

       We ignore these lessons at our peril.  

        But we can also look into the eyes of these aging veterans, and into the eyes of young South Koreans living in freedom today, and know that liberty can be enduring, and that no sacrifice in defense of liberty need be in vain.  The Republic of Korea stands as living proof of that truth, and the Korean War Veterans among us can bear personal witness to it.  

       This must not be a forgotten war and those who fought it must not be forgotten heroes.   This memorial, and others like it across this country and across the Pacific Ocean, are tokens of this generation’s promise that we will remember, that we will honor the memory of those who served and suffered and sacrificed, and that ultimately we will heed the lessons that their service, their suffering and their sacrifice recorded in the book of time.  

In that same speech to Congress, MacArthur said these words, which preserve the vivid memory of their gallantry from that day to this.  He said, 

        “I have just left your fighting sons in Korea. They have met all tests there, and I can report to you without reservation that they are splendid in every way… Those gallant men will remain often in my thoughts and in my prayers always.”

Let us leave here today with those men in our thoughts and in our prayers and resolve to keep them there always.