Just three days in advance of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting in Korea, veterans who fought in that conflict were honored with a Twilight Tattoo in the nation’s capital.
Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, Ph.D., said that during the anniversary, it is important for all generations, especially the younger generations, to remember the significance of the war to “our freedoms, liberty, our democracy, as well as the well-being of the people of South Korea and the United States.”
Westphal hosted the twilight tattoo to honor Korean War veterans, July 24, at Joint Base Myer Henderson-Hall. He said the nation owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who served in the war, as well as to the families who supported them.
Special guests at the event included Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, and the South Korean ambassador to the United States, Ahn Ho-young.
Westphal paid tribute to the many Korean War veterans in attendance, including prisoners of war, and two Medal of Honor recipients – Rodolfo Hernandez and Ronald Rosser.
“The men who fought in this war – Americans, South Koreans and those from other nations who joined the fight for freedom – made great sacrifices and endured much hardship,” Westphal said.
“We need to remember and honor your sacrifice,” Westphal told them.
He said the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families were not in vain, as South Korea is now a thriving democracy with a strong economy. That nation is also a partner and ally to the United States.
“Tonight, we are surrounded by those who put on that uniform and fought in that war – sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and soldiers – and we thank you all for your service.”
He noted it is the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war. The armistice was signed July 27, 1953.
“We don’t really celebrate war,” he said. “When we celebrate something like this, we celebrate an end to a war – a war that gave this country an opportunity to share its values and its principles with other nations around the world.”
The twilight tattoo, he said, illustrates the role the Army played in the Korean War and also how it came to the defense of liberty and freedom in Korea and around the globe.
Rosser, who received the Medal of Honor in 1952, said that while at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall for the events he met “a lot of old friends from a long time ago,” including his regimental commander from the Korean War.
“America is in good hands” with today’s Soldiers, he said, describing them as the “finest soldiers that ever lived.”
“I’ve had an opportunity to meet a lot of them in person and a lot of them in the military hospitals and I just think they are great,” Rosser said. “I’m honored to be around them.”
About 1,000 people, including 400 Korean War veterans, attended the tattoo, which showcased the military precision and discipline of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).