I’ve shared stories before that my daddy left for us in a short book about his time in the Marines (1951-1953), and tonight I want to share one paragraph that just fills me with pride. Pretty much, there isn’t anything about my daddy that hasn’t filled me with pride for the man he was.
The train trip back down to Inchon was uneventful, but we did get to see some trains going in the opposite direction carrying repatriated Chinese or Korean prisoners who chose not to stay in South Korea after the war was concluded. They merely stared blankly at us as we met, and we stared back at them. There was no name calling, cursing, or recriminations of any kind from either side. It was as if both sides felt that it was over for them and left well enough alone.
Thinking back over that year, I have to wonder if my presence there made any difference to any individuals or to the final outcome of the war. I am sure that in the big picture or grand scheme of things it made absolutely no difference whether I had been there or not. If not me, someone else would have filled that space. I do take some pride in the fact that I had probably saved the lives of some Americans during that night raid.
It is strange though that when I possibly made my greatest contribution, I never saw an enemy soldier. As time has passed, people who are supposed to be thinkers of great and deep thoughts have questioned whether the United Nations had any business in getting involved in Korea. I am not a global thinker, but the UN involvement was based on trying to contain communism. That effort has not been overly successful, however we have recently seen the virtual self-destruction of communism in the USSR, so perhaps keeping half of Korea as a non-communist country was worthwhile. I hope so for in that “police action,” over 55,000 Americans were killed in an action that lasted a little more than three years.
Some of the fruits borne of that war were evident when I landed in Inchon in 1952. Out in the harbor was a large white hospital ship with a red cross on its sides. The name, I believe, was “City of Hope.” It was still there one year later, caring for men who were wounded too severely to be cared for in the hospitals ashore. I wonder where it has traveled to since the end of the Korean War.”
Semper Fidelis (Semper Fi)…always faithful, always loyal. That’s the motto of the Marines, and that was my father. John Allen Black