By Nancy Osborne
How many times in the last 9 years have you stopped someone in uniform and thanked them for their service? If so you’re one of many Americans who do it routinely and often.
But do you ever think to offer that same thanks to the men we often think of as old or elderly?
They are the aging gentlemen whose ‘back in the day’ were the days of Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Bulge, Inchon, Vietnam, Cambodia and the silent battlefields of the Cold Warriors we never knew about.
I met one of those guys recently, Russell Caperon. The 79 year old lives a quiet life with his wife Helen in Mariposa. His war was the one called the “Forgotten War” fought on a peninsula between China and Japan.
At the end of World War Two Korea was held by Communist Russia in the north and the United States in the south. Those occupations followed the defeat of the Japanese.
1948 brought an agreement to divide Korea at the 38th parallel, called the DMZ - the Demilitarized Zone. The line separated North Korea and South Korea -- two countries under conflicting ideologies.
The tension that followed brought the invasion of South Korea by North Korea in June of 1950. It sounded the beginning of the so-called Cold War and brought American Soldiers like Russell Caperon sailing across the Atlantic to support South Korea’s limited forces.
On a sunny morning in mid September this former U.S. Army soldier took us back to that place and that time. He had just come back from 10 days in South Korea. 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of his war. Throughout this year the South Korean government has welcomed and hosted the living American Veteran’s of this war to thank them and show them what South Korea did with the gift of a free country.
The former mortar gunner with the 5th Regimental Combat Team had a lot to say about his service and the people he helped liberate.
So are you ready to give up that “Thank you for your service” to all those who serve and those who did back in the day? I know I am.