Wyoming Governor, Korean Consul General Honor Wyoming’s ‘Forgotten War’ Veterans in Casper [VIDEO,PHOTOS]
Governor Matt Mead and Korean Consul General Shin Chae-Hyun made a stop in Casper on Monday as part of a three-city tour honoring Wyomingites who served their country, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, during the Korean War.
Over 40 medals were given to veterans -- or, for veterans who couldn't travel or have passed away, their family members -- during the ceremony hosted at the Ramkota Hotel.
Accounting for today's ceremonies in Cheyenne, Casper and Lander, the consul-general has handed out well over 300 Ambassador for Peace Medals. The medals are given to veterans who served during the Korean War from June 25, 1950 through July 27, 1953.
"While some call the Korean War the forgotten war, Wyoming has never forgotten," Mead said.
"How could we forget? Nearly 1.8 million of our soldiers were deployed to South Korea. Over 103,000 were wounded in action. Over 33,000 were killed in action," Mead added.
"National Guard troops came from many towns across Wyoming -- our little towns, and our towns that are little bigger than little towns," Mead continued. "Fifty-eight of these soldiers, marines and airmen did not return, having made the supreme sacrifice."
One veteran of the Korean War was none other than Mead's father, who served as part of a B-29 crew. Mead said his father joined up at the age of 17, having unsuccessfully tried to join at an earlier age.
"While he rarely talks about his experience in Korea, like all of you, he was proud to serve. It meant a lot to him as a young man; it meant a great deal more to him as he has grown older," Mead said.
The consul-general thanked the veterans who, 67 years ago, went to a country many had never heard of, and risked -- and in some cases, gave -- their lives to defend the liberties of South Koreans.
"Your heroic services were not in vain," the consul-general told the crowd, explaining that South Korea has since grown to become the 10th-largest economy in the world as well as a key ally and global partner of the United States.
South Korean soldiers have since fought alongside the U.S. military in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. South Korean service members currently serve as peacekeepers in Lebanon and South Sudan.
"Please don't say 'thank you' to me," the consul-general said before handing out the medals. "'Thank you' is my word and the word from the Korean people to all of you. Had it not been for you, today's Korea might not have been able to exist at all."