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United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

Korean War Veteran Memorial

Memorial Honors Those
Who Answered the Call

From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with the United Nations forces in Korea to take a stand against what was deemed a threat to democratic nations worldwide. At war's end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families, homes, and jobs - and to a country long reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial honors those Americans who answered the call, those who worked and fought under the most trying circumstances, and those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom.

Visitors to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., are greeted by a patrol of 19 stainless steel statues trudging toward an objective. The patrol consists of 14 soldiers, one sailor, one airman and three Marines. The seven-foot-tall figures represent racial and ethnic cross sections of America -- whites, blacks, Asians, American Indians, Hispanics.

One Marine carries an ammunition case about the size of a lunch box and a tripod on his shoulder. There is also a statue of an African American Army medic and a South Korean soldier fighting with the American unit.

The troops walk grimly through a triangular field of juniper bushes and marble barriers that symbolize the rough terrain in Korea. Their objective, at the apex of the triangular "field of service," is symbolized by a masted American flag. The figures are clad in windblown ponchos to recall the harsh weather troops endured.

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