We gave up plenty besides our lives and our bodies. We gave up our jobs, our loved ones and all the good things in life to fight on a foreign battlefield where even the people there were not concerned over their own freedom.
We came home older, never again to enjoy our youth as we knew it before the war. We had seen the horrors of war at its worst, in body bags and with deformed bodies. We are scarred in body and in mind, ready to jump out of our skin at any loud noise and spending many a sleepless night.
I'm proud to have served our country and to be a Korean War veteran, in which we gave our sacrifices and duty to a questionable cause. We stopped a strong, seasoned Chinese Army in one year. They were in complete disarray at the end of 1951, but they kept on fighting us until July 27, 1953.
At one time my infantry regiment, the 5th. R.C.T., spent 135 consecutive days on the front lines, walking endless miles through all kinds of battle conditions, every moment under the threat of death. Seeing our comrades' spilled blood, sleeping in mud and rain. We in the infantry got clean, dry clothing once a month. Then there was the cold and snow - we never saw thermometers, but we were told it was from -18 degrees to -25 degrees below zero. And drinking water out of rivers and streams that were saturated with centuries of human waste.
The lack of food on our most hectic days, and the killing of the enemy who was trying to kill you and who was fighting for the same hill you wanted. And being so exhausted, some days you fell down and slept where you fell. We gave all we had.
If you find this offensive, I'm sorry; war is hell. Come and walk a mile in my boots or the boots of another disabled veteran. Many of us are thankful we still have legs to walk on. (I wear a brace on my left leg from my last wound in Korea.)
I live each day with pain and discomfort from my wounds and frost-bitten feet, my souvenirs of the Korean War.
Our United States casualties were: Dead, 54,246; wounded, 103,284; and 8,177 still missing in action.
Please fly your flag on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, every year.
C.A. Bud Collette
Past Commander Chapter #573
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Korea 1951-52 5th. R.C.T.