National Day of Korea event honors local veterans from the 'forgotten war'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There are about 2 million living veterans of America's forgotten war. And on Friday The City of San Francisco and the State of California joined the South Korean Consulate in honoring 400 of them at an event at the Palace Hotel.

The honors began with a serenade from an Air Force band. Then South Korea's Deputy Consul General thanked the veterans, mostly men in their eighties and nineties.

"Words like respect and gratitude are simply not enough. I am deeply moved, deeply moved by the love for humanity the United State military has shown," said Jimin Kim, the Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Korea.

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"It was a valiant effort. A valiant effort of everybody who served," said Thomas Lee, a Korean War Veteran.

The war began more than 67 years ago in the summer of 1950 when North Korea invaded the south.

The U.S. convinced the United Nations to send troops to support South Korea. But most of them were Americans.

"There were a lot of lives lost over there. There were over 50,000 troops lost over there. I don't know how they can call it the forgotten war. That's not right," said John Koeller, a Korean War Veteran.

And a majority of the 5 Million American's who served in Korea deployed from San Francisco.

"Fort mason once again became the major port for deploying young American soldiers to fight side-by-side with people they've never met before," said Kim.

Thomas Lee was a Marine awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he received assaulting a hill in 1953.

"We were attempting to take back one of the outposts and a mortar blast got me," said Lee.
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