Humans are amazing creatures.  We focus so much on time that we fail to realize how fast it goes by.  Almost a paradox isn’t it?  We focus so much that we can’t see it?

60 years ago the Korean War was officially over.  Today we still have troops protecting the South from invasion by the North.  It is a cost we willingly take on, to give us our Hundai’s and Samsung products.  How could we live without them.

The notice of this milestone takes one’s breath away for just a second; like hearing the news that an acquaintance as passed, or that a marriage has actually lasted “that” long.  or the sudden realization that we too, are suddenly upon inspection, not as young as we really thought we were.

The Korean War was pivotal in making the US a world player.  We were weary of the second world war.  Friends were dead and buried.  Some came back broken and never got well.  We focused on life here, getting our GI bill’s worth of opportunity, immersing ourselves to forget the horrors we collectively experienced for our nation overseas.  Then, just as we were about to get our degrees,  Korea was all communist.

There were a few beachheads at the southern tip still in our control, but most of the island had been quickly overrun.  No one could stop them but us, and we all lined up to sign on again for our country.  MacArthur was in charge of Japan and of course, felt it was his destiny to seize command.  All that WWII knowledge came into play again, and we made an amphibious landing in the middle of the peninsula, coming in from the Chinese side and driving across to cut off the armies in the South.  We quickly mopped them out of existence and marched north to unite the country again.  As we got close to the Chinese border, suddenly we were fighting the Chinese for which we were not prepared.  We got pushed back again, back over our hard fought ground in what looked like a complete rout.  Our Marines retreated 100 miles  often finding themselves behind enemy lines, as the Chinese so rapidly advanced with superior numbers.

The Armistice was a big deal.  It got us out, while leaving  the territory was  pretty much where they were at the beginning.

America learned it was costly to remain neutral against communist societies..  Intervene early. Intervene often, keep it small,  a policy which ultimately gave us the Vietnam War.   A war in which the Korean Vets were shocked that whereas they had jumped at the call to duty a second time, their children chose to protest instead.  Two different wars; two different generations, two different approaches.

Bottom line, is that the Korean War teaches us that history is not static.  Weeds do grow in the garden and must be plucked out if the garden is to be anything other than weeds.  And It takes effort to weed.

So with the Korean anniversary comes a mixed memory.  One, we were not the only superpower who was invincible. We could be beaten.  Two, stability with a crazy adversary is better than a full out war. Three, with stability, one can do great things with an economy…  The United States apparently makes all the difference.

Today, there are rumblings in the South China Sea.  If you only listen to American media you know nothing about it.  It is all but ignored.  The United States is there, as is 60% of our naval forces to enforce the peace.  It is a tough job.  It is a necessary job.

60 years of success shows how it can be.