The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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No parades upon return

December 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“The Americans who fought in Korea often felt cut off from their countrymen, their sacrifices unappreciated, their faraway war of little importance in the eyes of contemporaries. It had none of the glory and legitimacy of World War II, so recently concluded, in which the entire country had seemed to share in one great purpose and every serviceman was seen to be an extension of the country’s democratic spirit and the best of its values, and was so honored. Korea was a grinding, limited war. Nothing very good, the nation quickly decided, was going to come out of it. When servicemen returned from their tours, they found their neighbors generally not very interested in what they had seen and done. The subject of the war was quickly dispensed with in conversation. Events on the home front, promotions at the office, the purchase of a new house or a new car were more compelling subjects. In part this was because the news from Korea was almost always so grim. Even when the war went well, it did not really go very well; the possibility of a larger breakthrough seldom seemed near, much less anything approaching victory, especially once the Chinese entered the war in force in late November 1950. Soon after, the sardonic phrase for a stalemate, ‘die for a tie,’ became a favorite among the troops. This vast disconnect between those who fought and the people at home, the sense that no matter the bravery they showed, or the validity of their cause, the soldier of Korea had been granted a kind of second-class status compared to that of the men who had fought in previous wars, led to a great deal of quiet—and enduring—bitterness.” – David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter (emphasis in original)

Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

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