The Public Speaks
This page was established to give the general public a way to share their sentiments about the Korean War with the veterans who fought and served in it. If you would like your essay or opinion posted on this page E-Mail Zach Waters.
Dear Heroes of Our Past,
I would like to start out by saying that not of us who make up the younger generation have forgotten about the men who gave their lives in order to preserve the American way. I am no more than a 16 year old young man whose dream is to become an officer in the United States Marine Corps. I don't know what it was like in Korea and I do not pretend to understand the horror of warfare. I do, however, try my best to educate myself on the wars of the 20th century so that I may come as close as possible to comprehending those horrors. I do all that I can to ensure that I, and those around me, do not forget the wars in which our soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice. I know that it doesn't mean much, but I thank-you all for keeping me safe and all of us in these United States. Thank-You!
Mach LockDear Mach:
I doubt many of us think of ourselves as heroes but it is gratifying to know that there are young people like you who do, and who are ready to take up the mantle of U.S. Marine. A nation can suffer a worse fate than sending its young men and women to war. The end will only come when a nation's young people no longer are willing to bear the burden and carry the flame of liberty for ourselves and for those who yearn for freedom but are denied. An hedonistic nation will die like ancient Rome, in the hands of the barbarians. As long as there are young men like you we will survive and prosper.
May your future bring you all you desire, and if you become a Marine, I know that you will bring honor to yourself and your country.
Ray L. Walker
Dear Friends, Veterans and Comrades
Please read the letter following: and I pray that you will take time out to write to your Rep. and Senators asking them to step in and do something for Mr. Hagler. I have been writing to all possible individuals you can imagine. I got on this case about year and a half ago, It seems that things have gone quite downhill for Mr., Hagler recently. Not to mention the forced resignation of Dr. Moskowitz, who went beyond the call of duty top prolong Mr. Hagler's existence.
I pray that you will take time to write to either get Mr. Hagler his medication he needs or a contract with Dr. Kevorkian (it seems that, that is exactly what the VA wants to do to Mr. Hagler. Please write!!!!!!
Subj: Re: READ WHAT THE VA IS DOING TO THIS MAN!
Thank you very much indeed! May I suggest that you also contact the Chairman of the House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, US House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515 (attention: Mr. Art Wu), as well as your local newspaper.
Dave Moskowitz, MD
Subj: re: Mr. Lawrence A. Hagler, a Korean War veteran
I'm a former VA physician, a nephrologist and general internist. Mr. Hagler is a patient of mine from the St. Louis VA Medical Center with end-stage emphysema. When I first saw him in October, 1995, I thought that he was going to die in less than a month. In large part because of the research my lab had been doing, I started him on an ACE inhibitor called ramipril (brand name, ALTACE). Although it was a non- formulary medication, the Pharmacy let me give it to him provided that I fill out the usual paperwork. Mr. Hagler did unexpectedly and extremely well, to the point where I think he represents a new and much more effective treatment for emphysema than now exists.
A year and a half later, in January, 1997, the St. Louis VA closed its formulary. It was the first in a number of managed care changes. Now, no matter how many hoops you jumped through as a physician, you couldn't get non-formulary medications for your patients. In February, 1997, the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee fortunately renewed the prescription for Mr. Hagler's ramipril, as it had done for the previous eighteen months. By now, Mr. Hagler was taking 100 milligrams of ramipril a day, an astronomical dose, but it was keeping him alive and his blood pressure beautifully controlled.
Then, in April, 1997, the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee decided to stop Mr. Hagler's ramipril, over my most vehement protestations, in order to comply with the closed formulary edict. Mr. Hagler ran out of his ramipril in early July, 1997. But when he tried taking the ACE inhibitor on the formulary, quinapril, it didn't do the job, and Mr. Hagler got acutely short of breath. The problem with end-stage emphysema is that you're operating without a safety net. If Mr. Hagler got truly short of breath, to the point where he would need intubation and mechanical ventilation, his lungs were so shot that he would never have gotten off the ventilator, and he would have died. So I couldn't afford to let Mr. Hagler get worse. Unfortunately, the VA refused to give Mr. Hagler his ramipril that day in mid-July, 1997. Nor has it given him his full dose of ramipril, which now is 140 milligrams a day. The St. Louis VA will only give him the FDA-recommended maximum dose for hypertension, which is 20 milligrams a day. The VA Undersecretary of Health, Kenneth Kizer, wrote an official memorandum of October 17, 1997 specifying three reasons why Mr. Hagler should still be getting his high dose of ramipril, and why it should never have been changed. Yet when I appealed directly to Dr. Kizer and to others within Central Office, I was told not to bother them anymore, and was harassed further by my VISN and local administrators.
Since that day in mid-July, 1997 I have kept Mr. Hagler supplied with ramipril from the drug manufacturer, Hoechst Marion Roussel. I bring the drug to his apartment about once a month. We are now in the 18th month of the siege.
Yesterday, I learned that ramipril had been transferred to another drug company, Monarch Pharmaceuticals. Fortunately, Monarch has agreed to keep supplying Mr. Hagler with ramipril.
Largely because of my outrage over how the VA was treating Mr. Hagler, I no longer work for the VA. (How the VA harassed me for two years until I was finally allowed to resign is another story). I'm writing to you because I cannot single-handedly keep Mr. Hagler alive any more. If I run short on his medicine, he gets short of breath within a day or two.
Could you please bring whatever pressure you can to bear to get the VA to provide Mr. Hagler with the proper dose of his medicine? They could do it before April, 1997; why can't they do it now? The Undersecretary of Health's official memorandum specifies three reasons why Mr. Hagler's medicine should never have been changed; why can't the Undersecretary of Health ensure that his memoranda are carried out?
The St. Louis VAMC physician now treating Mr. Hagler knew from the start that he would lose his job if he made a fuss about the ramipril, as I obviously did. It is unfair to expect him to be ruined too over insisting that the VA abide by its own rules of medical practice.
I have exhausted all other channels, from appeals to the White House on down, and appeals to the House and Senate of the United States, who alone have jurisdiction over the VA. The Judicial branch of the Federal Government has refused to enter the case, except if the VA needs defending. There is absolutely no one speaking on behalf of my patient's life. I am reminded eerily of Germany in the 1920s and 30s, when patients were killed so as to lessen the financial burden on the country after World War I.
It's been an eye-opening and fairly horrifying education; the country does not work the way it is supposed to. None of this is the way it is supposed to be. Finding an effective treatment for end-stage emphysema is not supposed to get one fired, nor is it supposed to condemn one's patient to death.
Please help me help Mr. Hagler. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
David W. Moskowitz, MD, MA, FACP
St. Louis, Missouri
As a Korean vet I wrote my Congressman, Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R.-NJ) about a reported deterioration of the Korean War Memorial. He replied on 12/8/98 that he had supported a bill, H.R.4103, that had been passed and signed by the President on 10/20/98, which included $2 million for repairs of the memorial. He said that repairs are underway. The report that I read on the Internet had depicted a picture of sad neglect. I am glad this has been rectified and I hope organizations such as yours will help prevent a repetition of this attitude.
A letter was forwarded to me from Hardon M. Wade Jr.
560 Campbell Hill
"Currently I am researching American military men who are listed as Missing in Action and believed to have been Prisoners of War from the Korean War. It is truly difficult to believe our nation has allowed almost forty years to pass without bringing them home. There are nearly three hundred missing.
There has been a tremendous amount of interest in the MIA/POW from Vietnam. Somehow those poor souls from Korea have been ignored, I believe it is to me for a serious effort to be made to find these boys and bring them home. Do you agree?
I want to make contact with others who share my concern.
I am interested in anything relating to Korean MIA/POW:
Remberances, clippings, recommendations of articles, reports or books, and anything else about this laudable subject."
Thank you for alerting me to the forgotten victory site. I can only assume you found through the Cold War Home Page.
Lynnita please help me advise Korean veterans of the action taken by Congress to authorize a Department of Defense Cold War Certificate of Recognition. This includes all veterans who served honorably between September 2, 1945 and December 26th, 1991.
God Bless you for the work you have done. My father was a Korean veteran!
As a veteran of WW-II I would like to say, "WELCOME HOME". I am proud to be a part of the men who defended our country, without question. Joe Macchia USN.
I would like to encourage all those that sign in our guest book to become museum members and join us in this great undertaking of building the Korean War Veterans National Museum and Library. There has never been a National, to my knowledge, War Museum so this is the first one. Do not hesitate, please join us now and also check out our souvenirs and maybe purchase one or two items. For that I would be most grateful.
To: Letters Editor, Newsweek
Of the 38 pages covering "Americans Go to War" in the March 8, 1999 issue, only a little over 700 words are devoted to the Korean War while 7 1/4 pages are given to our involvement in Vietnam.
This is a shame...an outrage...an insult to the 5.7 million Americans in military service 1950-1953. Of this number 1.5 million served in Korea. In this 3 year war 33,627 Americans were killed in action as compared to 47,367 for the 10 year Vietnam War.
In Korea communist military aggression was defeated. Had the enemy succeeded how many other attempts would have been made to add to the Soviet block through a force of arms? A degree of stability came upon the world scene which cannot be calculated. In 1990 President Bush said, "It was a war in which we turned the tide against communism for the first time. Our defense of freedom laid the foundation for the march of democracy we're seeing today around the world."
And Newsweek gave it 700 words out of 38 pages.
THIS IS A SHAME...AN OUTRAGE..AN INSULT TO 5.7 MILLION AMERICANS! Under separate
cover a highly recommended booklet on the war is being sent to your chairman, Richard M.
Smith. Please...have your writers read it.
Korean War Association
Ph. 615-731-8795NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release - 1 April 1999
Contact Robin L. Higgins, Lt.Col. USMC (Ret)
MURDERED MARINE'S WIFE SPEAKS OUT ABOUT CAPTURE OF U.S. SERVICEMEN IN YUGOSLAVIA
Tallahassee, Fla. - With the news of the capture today of three U.S. servicemen in Yugoslavia, I recall the capture in 1988 of my husband, Col. William R. (Rich) Higgins who was serving with a U.N. peacekeeping operation in Lebanon. He was held by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists and later murdered, a picture of his body hanging from a noose released to the news media in July 1989. His remains continued to be held until they were released in December 1991.
I have heard from more than one President, U.N. Secretary General, Defense Secretary and Joint Chiefs Chairman what I am hearing today, that "we have long memories," that "we will hold these captors accountable," " that we will go after them." Sadly, I haven't found this to be true.
When I tried to find a voice for my story, no major publisher would publish my book, saying that the story is "too old" and "not relevant." Sadly, they are being proved wrong today. I fear for and I pray for the safety of these brave men, and my heart goes out to their families.
Colonel Higgins was never declared a Prisoner of War by his country, and it seems that is the case with the men being held today. It is my contention that when servicemen or women are captured, they are "prisoners of war," not "hostages" or "detainees." A "hostage" is a civilian caught in the line of fire, and held for some sick political or financial reason.
Servicemen are held because they represent to those who would harm us, all the perceived weaknesses of democracy.
When a man or woman in the uniform of our country are captured, they behave as prisoners of war. They live day by day by the code of conduct that says "I am an American, fighting in the Armed Forces that guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.... I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America."
Because Rich was always a "hostage" and never a "prisoner," there were never any demands of international rules of treatment, no Red Cross visits, no insistence on medical care or humane treatment. Because neither the U.S. nor the U.N. wanted to give "legitimacy" to the terrorists, insisting that neither the state of Lebanon nor Syria had anything to do with it, they put no special pressures or demands, placed no sanctions on them or anyone else.
The State Department, not the Defense Department, had the lead. That meant diplomacy, not military might. There was no retribution, no retaliation, no rescue.
Servicemen and women wear the uniform of this country and leave their families behind to fight for this country because they believe this country will come after them when they fall. I believe we broke this pledge to Rich - and I hope we don't break this pledge to the three brave men who are now being held. My points are
1. We must acknowledge whenever we commit American service members outside our shores, they will be subject to those who would harm them, whether in combat or terrorist acts.
They are Americans, and whether they are armed with multiple rocket launchers, rubber bullets, or blue berets, nothing will disguise the fact they are Americans. When taken, they are "prisoners of war."
2. We must not attach American troops to U.N. command and control. The U.N. was never designed to be a military force. Our military men and women join our armed forces to fight and defend our country, our people, our flag, not the United Nations.
3. Only by publicly pursuing, relentlessly tracking down, and punishing those who commit terrorist acts will we begin to deter them. My book, Patriot Dreams, details my quest to get information and support from the United States government and the United Nations. It portrays a woman in crisis. It explores the schizophrenic conflict I faced - how to maintain my patriotism in the shadow of disappointment and seeming betrayal by our own government and the U.N. The book has been published by the Marine Corps Association and is immediately available by calling them at 1-888-BE-PROUD.
You immediate attention for Retired Vets is required- Jim Ward Semper Fi!
Duane St. John
-------- Original Message --------
Subject HR 303
Date Thu, 25 Mar 1999 204107 -0500
I am just an individual Veteran who lives near Andrews AFB in Maryland. Your e-mail address was obtained from your web site.
I wish to draw your attention to H. R. 303 - Concurrent Receipt, which you may already be familiar. Please make your membership aware of this issue.
Time is critical issue and I am working 12 hour each day, as it is, to reach as many people as possible. My only agenda is to provide you with some basic facts and hope that you will act to support our Disabled Veterans.
H. R. 303 is currently in the House of Representatives Armed Services that a retired Disabled Veteran receives is reduced from his/her retirement check. I receive a monthly retirement check of $245.18 for servicing our country for 24 years. I would receive the same VA compensation for my disability if I had spend 24 days or 24 years in service. So the award I receive for my 24 years of military service is $245.18 per month. H. R. 303 will correct this situation.H.R.303 - Concurrent Receipt SPONSOR Rep Bilirakis, Michael (introduced 01/06/99)
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to permit retired members the Armed Forces who retired with over 20 years of service and who have service connected disabilities to receive compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs concurrently with retired pay, without deduction from either.
You can read the entire bill at http//thomas.loc.gov/ and type in H.R. 303 where it ask for bill number. You can help by sending to your Congressman an e-mail by visiting the following web site http://lcweb.loc.gov/global/legislative/email.html
- Congressional E-Mail Addresses (CapWeb) -
Write Your Representative and ask her/her to support H.R. 303 Concurrent Receipt. Or if you prefer, you can call you Congressman at his/her District Office. If you would prefer to write your Congressman, a suggested letter is provided at the end of the mail.
H. R. 303 is currently in the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee and with your support we can get it passed this year.
Please pass this information to members of your organization so they can be informed on this subject.
This bill will affect anyone who has retired from Military Service and is receiving VA Benefits. Thanks for your kind support. Horace Hensley
I am writing to ask you to please support H.R. 303 Concurrent Receipt, sponsored by Rep Michael Billiards (introduced 01/06/99).
Our veterans have given our country so much and it is time to make sure that they are compensated adequately. Currently, any VA compensation that a retired Disabled Veteran receives is reduced from his/her retirement check. This is not right. Your support of H.R. 303 Concurrent Receipt will correct this unjust rule, allowing our veterans to retain all of the earnings they so rightly deserve and have earned.
I hope you will consider my request and support H.R. 303 Concurrent Receipt.
Thank you and best regards,
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL KOREAN WAR VETS
"As we approach the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, one of the disappointments has been the failure of Congress to grant the Korean War Veterans a Congressional Charter. When the organization tried to get one in 1989, they were told that Congress was not going to issue any more. The point that had me disturbed is the fact that the Korean War Veterans Association is the only major war organization that has been denied a Congressional Charter.
At the January 20th meeting of the Maryland Chapter of the Korean War Veterans, Korean War veteran Blair Cross was granted permission to pursue the project of obtaining a Charter. We are pleased to announce that Maryland Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Milulski have introduced Bill #S620 in the Senate to issue a Congressional Charter to the Korean War Veterans Association. The next step is to introduce this bill in the House of Representatives. This will be done by Representative Bob Ehrlich and Steny Hoyer.
We are not asking all Korean Veterans whether you are a member of the Association in your area or not to contact your Senator and Representative to support and push for passage of this legislation.
Should you have any questions regarding this Legislation I can be reached at 410-893-8145. Respectfully, Blair E. Cross, Korean War Veteran, 45th Division 1952-53.
Blair attached a copy of the Congressional Record, Vol. 145, No. 40, dated March 15, 1999 re S.620. re Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes introduction.
Getting the bill passed into law is of vital importance to the KWVA, please follow up on Blairs request to contact your senator and representative.
Recently, the Air Force Sergeants Association was successful in getting a federal charter - there is no reason why the KWVA shouldn't be so recognized.
In Maine we are denied a seat on the Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee because we do not have a federal charter.
To the best of my knowledge, other than the above-mentioned AFSA, here is a list of chartered organizations American Ex-Prisoners of War American God Star Mothers, Inc.
The American Legion
The American Red Cross
American War Mothers
Army and Navy Union, USA, Inc.
Blinded Veterans Association
Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.
Catholic War Veterans, USA, Inc.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America
Disabled American Veterans
Fleet Reserve Association
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Italian American War Veterans of the USA
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Legion of Valor of the USA, Inc.
Marine Corps League
Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America
Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc.
Non-Commissioned Officers Association
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc.
Polish Legion of American , USA
The Retired Enlisted Association
United Spanish War Veterans
U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II
Veterans of World War I of the USA, Inc.
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.
Women's Army Corps Veterans Association
Just recently, language in Public Law 105-261 changed reference to the cold, bloody war in Korea - it no longer is called the Korean Conflict! After 49 years the government decided to call it the Korean War. Currently publications produced by the DoD, will carry reference to the Korean War. Now it's time to get Korean War veterans and the KWVA recognized by the Congress; now is time to get our Congressional Charter!
KOREAN WAR VETERANS, FORGOTTEN VETERANS OF A FORGOTTEN WAR, NO LONGER
Let's all get behind this effort.
Best....Marty O'Brien, President, CPL Clair Goodblood Chapter (MOH), KWVA,
Augusta, MaineThe GI Bill & Post WW2 Vets Thank you for your prompt reply regarding the GI Bill for Korean Vets. Although it confirms my suspicions it does not make me happy. Tricia there is a story here that needs to be told and I may be too emotionally involved to do the best job. To me it seems that if veterans, other than WW2, received less from their country in the form of benefits it is an insult. Was our blood not red enough, our screams not loud enough our lost limbs of lesser value and our collective sacrifice not as noble or as worthy as that of WW2 vets. That is, apparently, what our Government is and has been saying for far too many years. A comparison of the impact of the GI Bill demonstrates the inequity. After WW2 the veteran enrollment at colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame etc. was upwards of 98% of the entire student body. During and after the Vietnam War the enrollment of veterans at these same institutions never exceeded 3%, and I believe the same sad statistics are true of the Korean vets. Our GI Bill was not the same as the WW2 Bill. It is sad to say but the source of the problem is, in fact, the veterans of WW2 and the Veterans Administration. After WW2 the country couldn't do enough for its' veterans and you couldn't be elected dogcatcher let alone to Washington without military service on your resume'. The class of 42 had more collective political clout than any group in our nations history. So how did the benefits get watered down with these guys still in power in the early fifties? What happened to the Organized Veterans groups? It appears that they sold out the later veterans. The less you give to the Korean vets the more money there is for the WW2 vets. The Service Organizations and the Congress allowed the VA to define payments for injuries receive in combat as "benefits" rather than compensation. There is a very sound legal reason for this. Under the law a "benefit" is defined as a "gift" and one cannot sue the government over the size of the gift they are getting for their disability. The Service Groups were co-opted by the VA by giving them free office space and phone service in the various Federal Office Buildings around the country. This conflict of interest resulted in a situation wherein holding on to their office space became more important than fighting for a disability claim that should have been won. The service groups were threatened with not only the loss of their office space, but their accreditation to represent veterans as well, if they "made waves". This would have had a serious effect on their ability to recruit new members as many of their new members were recruited after being represented in a disability claim. This then is how the VA held down the cost of disability compensation and also prevented any legislation that would have made us equal. This conflict of interest, sadly, remains to this day. These accusations in no way diminish the good work these organizations have done in their communities and their local VA Hospitals over the years. It just means that they failed at their most important job, that of advocating on behalf of veterans to the best of their ability. But even all this doesn't explain why veterans who are disabled in service to their country are denied Judicial Review and made second class citizens. Social Security applicants, welfare recipients, child molesters and rapists have more access to justice than a disabled veteran. It can take upwards of ten years to go through the claims process. At a time when our Government is about to commit ground troops to the new Vietnam in Kosovo, a disabled veteran has less access to an attorney and an impartial judge than Timothy McVie! I really believe that the American people would be outraged by this if it were made known to them. I have to believe as it would hurt too much to think otherwise. I was proud to serve my country in Vietnam and I am still proud to this day. I just don't understand why my fathers' service in WW2 meant so much more to this country and its' government than my service in Vietnam. But any way you slice it, it is one hell of a betrayal and a major league insult to all who served and sacrificed from Korea to today. I hope to God our country doesn't insult the people about to be sent to Kosovo.
To all of you who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our freedom:
I'm not a veteran. Just a woman, who's father served in Korea. He died when I was very young and I never knew him so I never heard any stories. I know that the chosen ones have great respect for eachother but I wander just how often regular people take the time to say thank you. Thats's all I want to do. Any words I can put here will not even begin to fully expres the intense emotions I feel inside for those of you who served. There are no words that can say thnk you enough. Recently, I stopped at the four way near my home and standing there with his little flags to distribute for a small donation was a veteran. I asked him how much? He smiled and said, "whatever you can give ma'am" I grace him all of what I had on me in cash, which was only about 12 dollars. Then for no reason, I began to cry. It could never be enough. They don't even print smiled warmly and said, thank you. That made me cry harder and all I could say back was, no sir, thank you! When he handed me the flag I had purchased, I held his hand for a brief moment. I only wanted to touch a hand which had touched me so profoundly. A hand that once held a rifle in the name of his country. A hand that had once been dirty and bloody. A hand which had trembled with true and real horror. A hand that had spent long nights with nothing to hold on to. A hand that had given me all I know and want. I wanted to make him feel the love I felt for him but I guess I could not. But I think he knew. The cars behind me were honking, in a hurry to get on with their 90's way of life, but I didn't care. As I finally drove away, I watched him for as long as I could in my rearview mirror. I saw the other hurried souls just passing him by. I didn't understand why they would do such a thing. How could they not know he gave them the right to go free wherever it was they were going! How could they not know that he had been among those who had spent so many lonely nights, so many fearful days, away from the place we call home. Injured, tired, frightened, confused, and alone. While we all going out merry way, eating home cooked food, making love to our mates, watching our children play, we forget that there were those who made it all possible. Those who did not have any luxuries so that those who made it all possible. Those who did not have any luxuries so that we could have many . No one but you all who were there could ever begin to imagine what it was like. I hate people who pretend they understand. People who just say they can relate becouse they think its the right thing to say. God how I wish there was some way to say thank you that really sounded the way I want it to . But I don't have the words. If my tears for you all were money I would be richer then Bill Gates for sure. If anyone would like to mail me I would like that. Again, Thank you each and every single one. Semper Fi!
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