‘We deserve to be remembered’

Harry Sullivan
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Veterans riled over lack of respect shown to those who fought in Korean War conflict

 TRURO – Sitting in their wheeled walkers near the edge of the Salmon River, a couple of old war codgers are in a bit of a cranky mood.

The sun is shining and it’s hot out but it’s not the day’s temperature that has these two steamed.

 “Everywhere but Truro remembers the Korean War,” one of the veterans, Curtis Faulkner says emphatically, shaking his hand in air.

“It makes me feel like hell, like we’ve been left out,” he says. “We deserve to be remembered. Not maybe by name but by some kind of a stone or memorial. That’s all I want to see.”

Faulkner recently returned from Brampton Ont., where he participated in a ceremony for Korean War veterans who are further remembered via a stone memorial that has been erected there.

Shortly after coming home, he saw newspaper coverage in Halifax of a similar ceremony and memorial for Korean vets.

Faulkner and Jim Matheson, both 83, were just young men when they fought in the Korean War, which raged from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953.

The Korean conflict has long been known as the Forgotten War and the pair say they recall all too well how the were shunned or saw the significance of their contributions downplayed by the veterans of other wars and civilians alike.

“These men died and suffered and laid in mud and everything. And we come home, that man come home 10 feet ahead of me,” Faulkner says, pointing at Matheson, “and there was only about that many people there at the (Truro train) station,” he says, holding up five fingers.

Matheson recalls a chat he had with an acquaintance on the streets of Truro shortly after his return and how the man did not even know a war had been taking place in Korea. And, like Faulkner, he wonders what really has changed.

“It makes a guy feel kind of useless after going through that, coming home and nobody gives a sh**, he says, in a surly tone. “They didn’t even know where we were. One guy asked me on the street here one day right after that, I was in uniform: ‘where have you been, I haven’t seen you?’

“I said ‘I was in Korea.’”

“‘What are you doing over there?’” the man replied.

“’What the hell do you think I was doing?’” Matheson says of his curt response.

“I even got fired out of the legion (at the time) because I was in uniform with my medals on.”

July 27 has been named as Korean War Veterans Day and Faulkner and Matheson say they would simply like to see the people of their home community recognize that as they do in other places.

And they would like to see a small stone or other memorial put in place near the Truro cenotaph declaring it in memory of the Korean War, along with the flags of Canada and South Korea and the dates of the conflict.

“All I want to see is for the people of Truro to wake up and say, ‘hey this has happened,’” Faulkner says.

“I want a separate stone because it was 25,000 boys (who) went across that water. Five hundred and sixty some are still there including our friends that died at Kapyong, just as important as any battle that I have seen on television.”

Faulkner says money is even available through Veterans Affairs Canada to help pay for such a monument but he believes it should be up to the Town of Truro to lead the charge in having such a project fulfilled.

When asked about the issue, Mayor Bill Mills said he is well aware of the men’s concerns. Efforts had been underway by a member of the local historical society to look into the matter but when that person died, he said, the project “got off the rails” and “it hasn’t really been picked up since.”

But Mills said the issue keeps “gnawing at me” and he hopes to see the situation changed.

“Certainly I will be going back to the historical society and if we can find out about the funding before my term is out, I will make sure that we try to get something,” he said. “It’s something that I feel is necessary to resolve before this term is out.”

 

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry

 

Organizations: Veterans Affairs Canada

Geographic location: Truro, Brampton, Korea Halifax Canada South Korea

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Recent comments

  • Garth Staples
    August 03, 2014 - 06:23

    codgers?????

  • Right Fighter
    August 02, 2014 - 18:27

    Thank you men. As Canadian Soldiers you deserve to be shown the respect you speak of. AS these men state even our WWI and WWII vets somehow downplayed or more likely felt somehow threatened by what for some seemed like a lessor fight for freedoms and individual rights or perhaps for a lessor cause for a people they did not relate to - blame it on human nature and warped "nationalism" . The Korean War like just about every war ever fought, had less to do with protecting the people of the conflict area and more about propping up puppet governments and maintaining access to geographic natural resources, and "buffer zones" against the competing network of allied enemies --- the empire who controls resources and trade routes reaps the wealth, and still does to this day -- but this should NEVER undermine the respect for the men who died and risked it all for the belief of fighting for what is right -- it is a complicated world due to the quest of empirical governments. WE now have a bold new world, one where transnational corporations dominate our governments via unethical trade laws that provide protection for cheap natural resources extraction while they pollute the local environment -- and if we the people say no, the corporations have our politicians hoodwinked into thinking our governments should pay our tax dollars to them in court settlements is we DARE pass a law to stop the pollution.---and it is the wealthy shareholders around the world who benefit, or so they believe, as their children are also impacted by pollution. But make no mistake this new battle now serves to protect the domination of the rich "HAVES" of the whole world over the plight of the poor "HAVE-NOTS", the global working class. That 's what I have been seeing since the 80's as a young man. That is the basic theories put forth by Herbert Schiller, a war veteran and a famed US professor emeritus of a leading US university in California at the time of his passing, and a man who saw what US foreign policy began to implement in post War Germany, where he served. Not being that well read on history, other than my life observations, I felt somewhat reassured in my formed beliefs when 25 years later I did some reading to do a report for a course on mass media communications theory. Herbert Schiller claimed that this epic battle to attain dominance of the HAVES over the HAVE-NOTS , and the rule of Trans National Corporations will see no end ---UNTIL the HAVE-NOTS are fed up and stand up for our Freedoms and Rights all over the world. A fine example is our troops who served in Afghanistan ---the first soldiers died, even though two weeks earlier they published in our Truro paper they were doing a live amo exercise over there, but then only to have a dubious accident when bombed by a US reservist pilot --how did he not know it was an exercise??? Was it to sacrifice our good men to build resolve and nationalism in the hearts and minds of the Canadian Voter. Another occurrence happened years later in Southern Afghanistan, where Harper agreed to our military heading NATO efforts instead of the US military. General Vance was the commander, when the Kandahar chief of police was shot dead as 41 armed soldiers demanded he release to them a prisoner being held to turn over to Vance per protocol. Our Troops with Vance were already speeding to the scene. The 41 soldiers about to leave with the prisoner were quickly surrounded by brave Canadian soldiers (just like you two cranky codgers) and those 41 took some shots at our boys but quickly surrendered when realized our boys had them surrounded ---- HERE IS THE KICK in the FACE ---those 41 guys dressed in Afghan military uniforms, were PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTOR employees, most likely Blackwater (a subsidiary of Haliburton, whose former Chairman of the Board was Dick Cheney, former US VP) ---however as reported in this and other Canadian newspapers, General Vance stated very clearly --he could not disclose the country of origin of the PMC. ---keep in mind they shot at our Canadian soldiers after murdering the chief of police, who Vance said was a good man who truly wanted peace for his people, and a friend of his. So guys we have a battle that is ongoing still to this day, and many men have died on the battle fields. So my thoughts are "the people" need your help as much as ever. My advice and "my sincere request" is be strong Right Fighters!!! -- keep making noise and get a commitment to hold a ceremony or gathering in our Town sometime in late August or September this year ---fight hard men --- We need your help and I will come to your ceremony, introduce myself to you and hopefully meet some other Canadian Vets who share common beliefs as Right Fighters!!! Hope we meet soon, cause there are battles brewing, and Dick Cheney's Haliburton is part of at least one ---the Haliburton ACT passed in the US grants companies proprietary rights to not disclose the toxic chemical recipe they want to send up here for FRACKING natural gas! -- but there are many of us who intend to stop them if the NS Government permits them to FRACK OUR LAND -- as I said we need the help of all Canadian Military Vets who still have plenty of Right Fighter spirit in their hearts --wheel chairs, powered scooters, canes and all are welcome!!!

  • Terri Ferris
    August 02, 2014 - 11:31

    Come on people! Get your act together!! This issue is an issue of respect and should have been settled long before now. I am so very disillusioned with Bill Mills passing the buck. It is time for him to put on his "big boy pants" and take care of this. These veterans are not asking for much - just a physical reminder that will be here to remind our children and their children of what was sacrificed for our security and the safety of a people far away. Sadly, when people reporting on this issue like Mr. Sullivan use disrespectful terms like "codgers" and "cranky" to describe the heroes of this article, I have little faith that anything will be done before these gentleman pass away. Prove me wrong - please!!!