60 years after Korean War, 62 NH veterans get their due
TILTON — After several speakers thanked Korean War veterans for their service and 62 of them were honored with certificates at the New Hampshire Veterans Home on Tuesday, one veteran in the crowd made a remark that summed up how most in attendance felt.
"This should have happened 50 years ago," said the resident of the home, who did not want to be identified.
Before Army Lt. Col. Dennis Snelling presented the awards to 54 men and eight women veterans, he acknowledged that feeling.
"Many of you that returned from Korea received nothing, and your generation just went back to work," Snelling said. "But you made our country great, and you made the Republic of Korea great."
The certificates are part of the Department of Defense's recognition of the war's 60th anniversary.
Snelling, a member of the DOD's 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, said he was "humbled" by being in the presence of the home's veterans.
U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter agreed.
"People didn't talk about the Korean War when you came home, we know that," she said. "If you have felt that we haven't noticed, that we don't know your story and what you did, we do, and we appreciate all you did for that country and for this country."
Snelling said 54,000 American soldiers lost their lives in the war, and there are still 8,000 missing in action. "There is an ongoing effort to find and repatriate them," he said.
A video from the South Korean government was played that showed images of the war while praising American Korean War vets for helping to keep the country free and allowing it to become the world's 10th largest economic power.
"We still remember your gallantry and sacrifice," a voice in the video said. "My dearest friend, you will always be our hero."
One of the female veterans, Gladys Renoe, 88, of Alexandria, was a Navy nurse serving in a medical unit near the fighting.
"It's nice to get this," she said. "I didn't regret going. I didn't think of it as a tough experience; it was just something we had to do. I'm glad I had the chance to do it for Uncle Sam."
Norman Wardman of Milford, who said he's "70-something," said the honor "feels good."
"I'm proud to be a member of the group that served over there, and I'm glad to have this recognition," he said. "It took a long time, though."