"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."
The words etched on the Korean War Memorial commemorate the service, commitment and sacrifice of the U.S. armed forces members who fought a war against communism half a world away. However, for 60 years the Korean War was referred to as a "police action," "the Korean conflict" and "the Forgotten War." Yet, in all senses of the word, it was war. While millions died and many more suffered from the hostilities, the nation collectively "forgot" about or ignored the war and its veterans. Unforgettable: The Korean War uses historical movies and personal photos combined with emotional remembrances to reveal the individual stories, the pride, the patriotism, the gallantry, the sacrifice and heartache behind "the Forgotten War."
"I'm proud of what we did and we did it. The words at the Korean memorial spell that out. Freedom is not free. And we went to help a country that needed it."
— Spencer Titley, United States Army
In this homage to Korea's forgotten fighters, veterans recall some of the searing wartime memories that were etched into their hearts and minds. Some memories are shared, such as the frigid winters, the death of friends and the gripping fear of combat. Other stories are much more personal: a fellow medic stepping on a landmine as he rushed to care for others torn apart by another mine; observing a Soviet MiG up close for the first time; dealing with racial tension in the newly integrated units; and racing through heavy fire to save another soldier, just to name a few.
"They don't call it "the Forgotten War" for nothing. Nobody remembers Korea."
— Bill Williams, United States Air Force
Unforgettable: The Korean War also goes beyond the battle stories to recount the aftermath of the war. When the peace talks finally ended and the fighting stopped, it was a generally thankless nation that greeted the returning troops. All of the veterans' effort and sacrifice went largely unacknowledged by their fellow citizens. Though fought by an international force assembled by the United Nations, it was as if the war didn't exist outside of Korea. As veteran Spencer Titley from the United States Army recalls, "I know no great novel written about it. And there is no poetry written. No songs. Nothing on the culture side marks the passage of Korea. It was basically over and done with and forgotten."
"They can call it whatever they want. I think it was a war and that's it. A lot of guys were dying or getting wounded and you can call it "the Forgotten War" or "the conflict," but it was a war. That's it."
— Eddie Rios, United States Marine Corps
Unforgettable: The Korean War serves as reminder that no war, nor the people involved in it, can or should truly be forgotten. Though the nation may have collectively "forgotten" about the war and its veterans, to those who fought it, the Korean War is unforgettable.