Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lest We Forget...

Today it is an honor to have author Don Brown here on my blog. Not only is Don a prolific author, he is also a proud Veteran. And an aside, one of the first male of my novel, Yesterday's Tomorrow. Thankfully for me, he liked it!

Don has something special to share with us today regarding The Korean War, and I hope it will serve to enlighten and educate you the same as it did for me.


By Don Brown

This Veterans Day, as we thankfully remember those who have served, and reflect upon the time-honored truth that “freedom isn’t free,” I ask that we remember, especially, our American Vets who served in Korea.
We are now approaching the sixtieth anniversary of the Korean War.
As you know Zondervan has just released my newest novel, Thunder in the Morning Calm, which is a story about Americans left behind in that war, and a grandson’s determination to find out what happened to his grandfather.

It had always bothered me that Korea is called such things as “The Forgotten War,” or a “UN Police Action.
Such foolish banter deflects well-deserved recognition from our guys who served there, who, in liberating South Korea, achieved one of the greatest victories in American military history. So I purposed to write Thunder to honor those Americans who liberated South Korea from communist totalitarianism.
But as I began my research, I discovered some facts that are mind-blowing!

Let me cut to the chase.
We left Americans in North Korean prison camps at the end of the war, but denied their existence. For a period of sixty years, there have been numerous spotting of elderly Americans in North Korea! Although statistically it’s unlikely, it’s possible that some are still being held there.

Consider the following:

Over Four Times As Many Americans are
Missing in Korea then Vietnam

Over 8000 Americans were missing or unaccounted for at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Here’s what’s incredible about that number. This is over four times as many as the approximately 1600 missing from our wars in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia combined! Bear in mind that American involvement in the Vietnam War lasted over fifteen years, from 1959 – 1975.

So we have 8200 missing from Korea over a three-year period, versus 1600 missing from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos over a fifteen-year period.

What’s wrong with this picture? What happened to all our Korean MIAs?

When the war ended, North Korea denied that it had any live American or South Korean prisoners. The United States denied that any POWs were still there.
But for nearly sixty years, many reports have surfaced of sightings of both American and South Korean POWs still in the north.

Eisenhower Presidential Library
Admits Americans Left in North Korean Camps

In 1996, the Eisenhower Presidential Library dropped a bombshell when it released previously-classified documents revealing that in 1953, when the Korean War ended, the US Government was aware of at least 900 Americans still being held by North Korea, which contradicted the U.S. Government’s position in 1953 that there were no such Americans in captivity in the North. This, in and of itself, is a travesty and a disservice to the truth.

Clinton Administration Official Resigns
Over MIA issue in North Korea

Then, in 1998, more shock. Two South Korean POWs from the Korean War escaped North Korea, directly refuting the North’s lie that it had no American or South Korean prisoners in its custody. About that same time, a senior Clinton Administration official handling the Korean POW/MIA issue resigned because so many reports of American POWs still alive could not be refuted.
Unfortunately, neither the Clinton nor the Bush Administrations pursued the issue meaningfully, and neither has the Obama Administration.

Reports of Americans alive in the North have surfaced as recently as 2006.

There is now no doubt, as proven by documents released by the Eisenhower Presidential Library, that this country left Americans behind the lines in North Korea, and untruthfully denied that fact for many, many years.
There is also little question that at least some of those Americans lived for many years, forgotten and abandoned by their country.

Could Some Still Be Alive?

Is it possible that some may still be alive?
To put the timeline in perspective, in 1938, seventy-five years after the Battle of Gettysburg, some 8000 veterans of the Civil War were still alive!
By contrast, we have not yet reached the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice, which will occur in 2013.
Any surviving Americans still left there would probably be in their eighties. Perhaps it is unlikely that any are still alive, assuming the difficulty of surviving that long in harsher conditions, but certainly possible.
I’m passionate about the sacrifice of our Korean Vets, and the missing plight of our over 8000 American MIAs there.

It’s inexcusable that this country has forgotten them, and I wrote this novel, in part, hoping that someone would give some thought to the plight of missing Americans of Korea.
As you remember all our veterans on this Veterans Day of 2011, please join me in a special remembrance and prayer for our Korean Vets and our Americans missing in North Korea.
Don Brown
1984 - 1992

DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES, a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. In 2003, Don began writing TREASON, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES.

Don has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of his latest novel, Thunder In The Morning Calm. Leave a comment for Don for a chance to win!


Catherine West said...

This is fascinating. And a little terrifying. I researched a lot about POWs for Yesterday's Tomorrow, but didn't have a clue that it was still such a relevant topic from the Korean War. My heart goes out to those families who may never know what really happened to their loved ones. I can't believe that with the intel we have in this day and age, something more cannot be done to get answers.

Unknown said...

Catherine, thank you for sharing Don's message! It does indeed enlighten and educate. I certainly was not aware of the number of people missing nor the denial that they were left behind. -- Susan Ward

John Hedley said...

Thanks for keeping this issue alive; if true this is a real smear on our national character and proof that the civilian governement does not follow the military axiom (Leave no brother behind). I met you at Richards Coffee Shop when Vicki brought you in; you need to return.

Anne Payne said...

WOW! Those are some staggering numbers! Thank you, Don, for sharing this information with us, and Cathy for posting it on your blog.

I'm going to share the link to this post on my FB and hope others will, as well.


Don Brown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Don Brown said...

Thank you friends,and thanks to Cathy for a platform to help get out this message. Anne, I agree with you. "WOW!" is exactly what I thought too.

Julie Cantrell said...

I'm blown away by these facts and had to read the post twice to process how many families were really impacted by those kind of numbers. I'm outraged, and this isn't my child, spouse, or parent. I can only imagine how many American families are out there still wondering, still hoping for the truth. Thanks for informing and educating me about a topic that is so foreign to me. I hope your book and your message help bring peace and closure to many.

piafinn said...

Wow. That's the first I heard about that problem. Staggering statisics. Thank you for drawing attention to it. Hopefully it's not too late for something to be done about it. Canada was also slow to even acknowledge Korean war veterans, saying it wasn't a real war. They finally have a Korean war museum. I have read all your books, Don, and especially loved the Navy Justice series.

Warren Baldwin said...

Catherine, I found your blog through Erin's. I read her review and give-away of your book.

Dan, I'm pleased to read about your book and esp glad to read this post. Another confession from Eisenhower - the U.S. gov knew of 20,000 American troops "liberated" from German camps and taken back into Russia at the end of WW2, never to be heard of in the West again.

We have a horrible track record of rescuing the troops who have served us.

Yes, reports continue to come out of Viet Nam of Americans still held there. One recent one: a medical doctor who treated an American POW. The POW gave his name and told the doctor to tell his parents, "I love you and want to come home."

I am collecting info for a report on the POW status. Sadly, I lost a big file in a move I made, and am trying to recover some of that material. But, there is a lot available if people will look. I hope your book does well.


Rosslyn Elliott said...

Don, I did not know some of these things and I was touched and dismayed to hear about them. I think my dad would really appreciate your novel--I will have to get it and see if I should send him a copy as a Christmas present!

Don Brown said...

Rosslyn, as I said, I didn't know either bout the plight of our MIAs when I started the novel. It was just one of those "what if" ideas, and as I continued to research, it was like a cold washrag to my face. It's heartbreaking when you think about it, knowing that we left men there for decades. You just wonder what they must have felt like, or if any are still alive, what they feel like.

Hope your dad enjoys the novel. If you'd like me to sign it for him, you can send it in the mail, and I'll get it back to you, signed any way he'd like it. I think we've got enough time for that before Christmas. :-)

Megan DiMaria said...

Wow. Those numbers are staggering -- and heartbreaking. I hope Don's book shed some light on this terrible situation.

Dineen A. Miller said...

I hadn't a clue about this. I'm so glad our God sees such injustice and will make it right either this side of heaven or the next. Those responsible will have to answer for it one way or another. Things like this make me feel helpless but knowing God isn't gives me comfort. My father was Vietnam vet whose integrity still touches my life even though he's now in heaven. Our soldiers (past, present and future) have sacrificed so much for us, as do their families. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Catherine West said...

Thank you all for commenting and reposting! This is an important discussion that, as we have seen, not that many people know about! I'm looking forward to reading Don't book now as well!

Sharon said...

Thank you Catherine and Dan...Wow, did not know the staggering number of MIA's. My dad is a Korean war vet, and at 81 years old still hesitates to discuss the war. I know he lost several buddies.
Very poignant reminder for Veterans Day of all the many sacrifices made on behalf of our country.
Sharon Moore

Jackie said...

I am shocked to hear this. You have broken my heart for these POW and their families.
I appreciate you sharing this with us today.
Jackie Layton

Carla Gade said...

This is horrifying! Thank you to Dan for bringing this issue to our attention and to Cathy for inviting Dan to share it.