During the period from 1990 to the present, significant effort has been made toward remembering the “Forgotten War.” In the early 1990s, the US was adjusting to the end of the Cold War. With this 40+ year struggle with the Soviet Union finally over, the US populace had an opportunity to begin to reflect on the significant events that shaped the Cold War; one such event turned out to be the Korean War. As time as progressed from 1990, there is an increase in energy put toward remembering this significant Cold War incident. Efforts to bring attention to the Korean War are seen through the public education on the war, anniversary ceremonies in memorial of the war, the answering of specific questions relating to the war, the construction of memorials honoring veterans of the war. In a subsection to this period, we will look at Veterans Day posters and the construction of war memorials as a way of seeing how this sort of education happened on the ground in sometimes subtle ways.
The first task to do when trying to draw attention to a specific something is to educate the public on that thing. In an effort to try and solve the problem of the Korean War becoming “forgotten,” there are many attempts to educate the public on the war. One of these attempts is through informative lecturing on the facts of the war. This is done by giving information pertaining to important dates, battles, and figures that fought in the war. Another attempt at educating the public is through telling the history of the war through the use of pictures. Both boston.com and huffingtonpost.com educate through the use of pictures, two examples of which can be seen in the righthand bar. The boston.com article, the first of the two, wants to show all who were involved in the conflict, so images of Koreans in the conflict and the devastation upon their homeland is shown, while the huffingtonpost.com article’s objective is to remember veterans (in honor of Veterans Day), so it only displays images of US troops. The content of an image helps to create an opinion in the mind of the reader, and the boston.com article might cause a reader to feel sorry for the devastation that the war caused for the Korean homeland, whereas the huffingtonpost.com article would instill a sense of patriotism for the US war effort.
The war is also often spoken about at anniversary ceremonies conducted in remembrance of the conflict. A particularly prevalent anniversary for the war has been its sixtieth. In 2010, President Obama gave a speech to a crowd in South Korea, aiming to remember the war and honor all those who have served. Articles seem to also head their information with the fact that it has been x-amount of years since the war, all while explaining what has been learned since that time. This can be seen in the article in Time, linked at the right through the photo of troops walking into the water.
But how did the Korean War become known as the “Forgotten War?” A method of educating the public on the War is by answering the question of how the public has forgotten about such a significant event in US history. One such reason given for this is has to do with the actions of POWs. An example that is often referred to is the Koje Island POW camp. American guards of the camp were undertrained for the job, and as a result, Chinese and North Korean POWs successfully kidnapped an American general. US forces had to agree to a number of abrupt demands in order to get the general back. One demand included admitting to unfair treatment of the prisoners in the camp, and then agreeing to end unfair treatment all together. It was mistakes like these that caused the popularity of the war in the US to severely diminish.
To conclude, the period of 1990-present is a time when people begin to educate the public on the Korean War, in order to terminate the connotation of it being called the “Forgotten War.” Education is done through lecturing on the details of the war, by anniversary celebrations, and via answering important questions related to the war. With the Cold War finally off of everybody’s mind, people could start focusing their attention toward the events that shaped the history of their country.