This year marks the observance of landmark anniversaries of several military milestones in U.S. history.
The 150th anniversary of the third year of the Civil War, among the bloodiest in American military history, is commemorated throughout 2013.
Notably, a century ago this year was the last full year of what passed for peace in the complicated lead up to the start of World War I. The coming year marks the centennial of the start of what was initially referred to as the Great War, but would later be called the War to End All Wars and then when another great war erupted a generation later, World War I.
This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the end of a war that looms large in American policy even now, the Korean War.
In an effort to ensure that the Korean War doesn't get lost in the mix, a group of veterans from Harford County who fought on the peninsula nation that borders China's northern Manchuria territories, but has been claimed at times by Japan, donated $1,000 to the county's public library system to support commemorations of the 60th anniversary.
Perhaps it is because living memories of 1813, 1863 and 1914 have faded into oblivion, that the wars of these periods are recalled with a measure of nostalgia. There is to be a reenactment of the sacking of Havre de Grace (which in reality was probably a fairly horrific event) and Civil War mock battles have become activities for a dedicated group of history enthusiasts.
Korea isn't necessarily reflected upon with such fondness, possibly because people are still around who witnessed the death and destruction associated with its bloody battles, some involving human waves vs. mechanized armaments.
It is sobering to ponder the reality that 60 years after the end of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, the coals of the conflict smolder and sometimes flare up in the form of threats of nuclear war or the firing of missiles from the side that had been opposed by U.S. forces.
The wars fought by the U.S. are an important part of our history and all need to be remembered for what they accomplished, what they protected and, importantly, what could have been done differently.
For helping Harford County keep such things in mind, especially with regard to the Korean War, we thank Maryland Chapter 33 of the Korean War Veterans Association, and especially the six local members who are helping the libraries with educational exhibits, for their contribution of $1,000. In our time, it may not seem like a lot of money, but any monetary sum pales in comparison to what they contributed to the care and keeping of their country.
Thanks to the six – Sam Fielder, Robert Banker, Charles Reed Jr., Earl House, Jack Cloman and Sam DeFazio – Harford County can reflect on the history of the war, and do so in a free country.