Korean War vets’ service remembered

Plaque in Veteran's Memorial Park in Langford honours military vets

Fred MacDonald stands next to a new memorial put into Veterans Memorial Park

Veterans of the Korean War are being memorialized in Langford.

Saturday (June 21) at Veterans Memorial Park, the Royal Canadian Legion unveils a monument to the vets and marks the more than 60 years since the cease fire in 1953.

Korean War veteran Fred MacDonald, 82, is grateful for the celebration. He said the war, which claimed 516 Canadians and more than 1,500 injured is one that has been forgotten by many.

“I want people to recognize the Korean vets more so than what they do,” he said. “Most of us are not recognized. I have had people say ‘Canadians were in the Korean War?’… That bothers us.”

MacDonald’s brother Bruce, a machine gunner on the front lines, was among those who didn’t make it back. Fred said the sacrifices made of his older brother, who was killed at 20, and others are important to remember.

“We appreciate it, because we don’t get very much donated to us,” he said. “(People remember) the First World War, the second war and Afghanistan, but they don’t count Korea.”

MacDonald, who worked in brigade headquarters, is still pained by an injury suffered when his jeep flipped over and rolled onto his leg. He returns whenever he can to visit his brother’s grave at the United Nations cemetery in Busan, South Korea and vividly remembers his time at war.

“There are a lot of things that can happen and you don’t want it to happen. You are scared most of the time,” MacDonald said. “Wartime was hell, but after the cease fire it was good.”

Langford Coun. Lanny Seaton said celebrations such as this are an important piece of history.

“I think it is important we honour anyone who has gone to war or has a role in peacekeeping,” he said. “If you don’t remember the past you can’t go forward. We are finding that with some of the vets, they need to have a place where they can go.”

The celebration takes place at 11 am.

alim@vicnews.com