VALPARAISO | The Forgotten War. The No-Win War. The "died for a tie" war.
That's how retired Maj. Gen. Dean Sangalis described the Korean War to about 50 people, many of them Korean War veterans and their families, who attended Thursday's Veterans Day observance at Valparaiso University Center for the Arts. The event was in tribute to those who fought in the war that, Sangalis said, technically, still isn't over.
Sangalis, the main speaker for the event, presented a quick history of the war in which about 3 million people were killed, most of them civilians. He said it was the first war in which jets were used and where brainwashing became known.
"Sixty years later we are still in a truce," the retired Marine said. The sides were supposed to meet again to draw up the final peace treaty a few months after the fighting ended, but they never did and no treaty has ever been approved by the U.S. Congress or signed by either side.
Times Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross introduced a video montage of interviews with Korean War veterans being collected by The Times for the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. Ross said 60 veterans from the area have been located so far, and he is learning about some of the experiences his own father might have had from the interviews.
"I'd like to say I never had the opportunity to talk to my father about his experiences," Ross said. "The truth is I never took the opportunity to talk to him."
One of those featured in the montage is Charles "Mike" Mikovetz, of Crown Point, who attended Thursday's observance and described it as "fantastic."
"It's telling a little bit of the hardships we faced," Mikovetz said. "I appreciated being able to see myself once more in uniform when they came to my house (to film the interview). A lot of things they asked me I forgot."
George Rosenbaum, of Wanatah, was interviewed a week ago. He wasn't in the montage but thought it was very good. Rosenbaum said he didn't know any of the men on the video. He was in Korea a year and a week, working on bulldozers as a welder, occasionally under fire from snipers. He said he hid under them until the shooting stopped.
Sangalis predicted the world would not see any more worldwide conflicts, like World War I or II, but would face limited conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. The video concludes with a veteran saying, "War is stupid," and America should bring its soldiers home.
The event was sponsored by the VU Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC, the VU Chamber Concert Band, One Region and The Times.