Wayne Telling, Korean War veteran, and a Republic of Korea Soldier look out at the Demilitarized zone June 18, 2019, Panmunjom, Republic of Korea. The purpose of the trip was to bring veterans back to the DMZ in order to remember and honor the sacrifices made there. (U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Jillian Hix, 20th Public Affairs Detachment)
Wayne Telling, Korean War veteran, and a Republic of Korea Soldier look out at the Demilitarized zone June 18, 2019, Panmunjom, Republic of Korea. The purpose of the trip was to bring veterans back to the DMZ in order to remember and honor the sacrifices made there. (U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Jillian Hix, 20th Public Affairs Detachment)

The war that never ended

by Pfc. Edwin Petzke
20th Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT SERVICE AREA, Republic of Korea—A dense fog hovered over Korean War veterans and Families as they look from Demilitarized Zone into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea June 18, 2019.

The One Race/ Sharing the Place Organization, the Sae Eden Presbyterian Church, and the ROK Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs welcomed the veterans and Families to South Korea to tour the JSA, reminisce on the battles fought, and honor their fallen brothers and sisters in arms.

“My brother James Ross joined the service when he was 15 years old so he could earn an education and get my parents out of the plantation,” said Mollie Ross-McMillian, sister of U.S. Army veteran James Ross. “In 1950, he went MIA and we have not since received his remains.”

They moved by bus through the DMZ, eventually reaching the House of Freedom, mere steps away from the border. They then entered the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission Conference Building to view the divide between the two countries.

“Crossing that threshold and being on the other side gave me a dead feeling inside,” said Dennis Malcolm, son of U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Theodore Malcolm. “It was nice to be over there and say a quick prayer for them.”

Many veterans and Families stood solemnly as they looked over into North Korea, including Medal of Honor recipient Master Sgt. Woodrow Keeble’s son Russel Hawkins. Keeble was posthumously awarded the MOH for single-handedly destroying three enemy machine-gun bunkers and saving countless Soldiers.

“I’m reminiscing on what he went through, all the lives he saved,” said Hawkins. “I’m trying to imagine the fighting the Soldiers did on both sides, in the blistering cold and rugged terrain.”

They then moved to the Foot Bridge where South Korean President Moon, Jae- In and North Korea Chairman Kim, Jong Un had a private talk during an Inter-Korea summit in 2018. A walk on the historic bridge left many with an experience some will never forget and stories for them to pass onto their Families.

“It’s been an emotional experience but an educational one as well,” said Ross-McMillian. “My Family doesn’t know a lot about the war. Now, I can take what I’ve experienced and what my brother experienced and share it with my older sister and everyone else in my Family.”

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content