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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice ~ Washington D.C. ~ Visions of the Past and Present ~ Cumberland, Maryland

60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice ~ 
Washington D.C.

The events that unfolded at this 60th Anniversary of The Korean war Armistice will forever be etched upon my mind, and for many reasons that i hope to portray herein.

This is a very long video (link below), however, it is well worth watching!

I attended this incredible event with my very own Father, Retired Colonel Donald R. Swygert, a Korean and Viet~Nam veteran. I think I have never seen him as deeply honored and so touched as I did on this particular day, as it was an overdue homecoming of sorts that all of these great veterans that protect and provide freedom so deserve.

I especially thank President Obama for his heart felt speech and promises that I expect, that we as a nation expect, him to uphold while honoring all of these distinguished men and women on this particular day I will never forget. (time in video as linked below 20 min. :19 secs)

I hope you will find the time to view and listen to this video in its entirety and therefore furthermore understand what these fine men and women mean to this country and to the great country of South Korea.

My family got to meet the poetess, Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud, after the ceremony. She recited her own heart felt poem that was about her youthful recollection of tragedy as her country was torn apart, and how she and her country persevered. 

Since that fine day, July 27, 2013, and through an incident of Faith, my Father has been able to share with her, through email, some fascinating experiences while developing a new friendship. This came about because we just happened to be standing together when we were all awaiting the bus ride back over to the Pentagon where we had parked from where the service of the day had taken place.

We were able to converse long enough that day to stay in contact, which my father has thus far,and I intend on as soon as I am done writing this blog entry and chronicle of this even from a unique perspective.

Perhaps the most interesting  facets are those of lives crossing paths together on many occasions over decades of difficult but rewarding work, and it is work such as this that rebuilds nations.

The examples are these, as follows:

The poem below speaks of the Han River bridge falling. Last weekend while visiting my Father and Mother at their home in Alexandria, he kindly shared with me some of the correspondence that he had with this wonderful woman. 

Perhaps, and most striking to myself, the fact that he helped to erect a new bridge, very long ago, over that same river with The Army Corps of Engineers and as it was a bridge that Mrs. Kim - Renaud, along with her family, utilized shortly after its completion to cross and visit family members grave sites that they had previously been  unable to visit, was the absolute most humbling statement I had learned, thus far. I will state I hope I have my facts correct and if not I will make certain to correct them and note that within, as it may possibly have been a bridge  over a different river nit to faraway from which her family was from, and as I collect this work and share what I have written with all included herein, I will both add and amend with note any inaccuracies, as I only wish to convey facts that are quite revealing and humbling in nature.

It is a very small world on some levels, and just this fact alone reassures me of this. The even more stunning facets are other such striking similarities, which I will cover briefly below, and after the powerful heartfelt poem I must share at this juncture, as it is only fitting.

I am enclosing here a copy of her poem which she graciously read at the ceremony on this spectacular day of humble recognition.

I Remember

by Young-Key Kim-Renaud

It was a languid summer day in Seoul

When the crepe myrtles were in bloom,

Everyone was busy preparing for Father’s birthday,

Children frolicked in festive mood,

And Hobaegi, our dog, was jumping in contagious excitement.

The only thing that concerned me was those elusive “100 points”

And taking care of my baby brother for brownie points,

Which meant special prizes from Mother, children’s books and comic

books she handwrote.

But no one came to Father’s birthday.

The War broke out the day before Father’s birthday, 

Shattering our world, our peace.

No children showed him respect with deep bows,

No words of wisdom or blessings

Flowed from his own father'sor any guest’smouth.

Mother said it always rained on Father’s birthday,

And it was a good thing, for the Dragon loves water.

But it was not a good rain.

The muddy river dike swallowed my rubber shoes,

And wanted to take my feet, too,

As I tried to plod beside this or that sibling riding up on an adult’s 


The Han River Bridge fell before our eyes.

Father, a solid athlete and expert swimmer,

Refused to cross the river, because he couldn’t leave us behind.

The three months’ hell started from that moment.

Mother’s ruptured appendicitis turned into grave peritonitis,

And we children lost our innocence.

I, although only nine, was the eldest of all and

Represented our household at townhall meetings,

Where I observed people’s court and even executions.

We learned what it meant to be hungry.

But worse than hunger were three kinds of sounds:

Ringing of the doorbell in the wee hours of the night

Meant they came looking for Father,

For a banker was “bad by nature” and deserved to be shot on the 


The baby couldn’t talk, but the four little kids

Knew that one mention of “Father”

Would have made all of us half-orphans.

The airplanes flying low meant someone could die,

As one of them killed our elder uncle and two dear cousins.

The missiles' whine made us tremble under the coverlet,

Sounding like a deranged policeman’s whistle leading everyone to 


And then all that suddenly stopped, just as suddenly as it started.

We were on the street greeting you, alien soldiers on foot.

You were all dirty and hairy—of all colors, yellow, red, brown, and 


I saw all the adults were genuinely happy to see you,

Shook your hands and handed over the Korean and American flags.

Some embraced you as long-lost brothers,

And children began prancing with joy again.

I remember thinking, “Are these creatures who pulled us out of 

darkness holy ghosts

or the monkey-king Sūn Wùkōng (孫悟空)’s doubles?”

The magic gave us the miracle of the Han River.

Look where we are and where they are--

It is not a Forgotten War, but the magic lives on and on.

-- June 24, 2011

She also read this magnificent at another event preceding this day, and my Father and Mother were in attendance there as well at the Sheraton in Tyson's Corner.

Then finally after paths crossing several times over many decades, we all had the pleasure of actually meeting and becoming steadfast friends.

If my memory serves me correctly, Mrs. Kim-Renaud was also aware of and remembered a speech my Father gave in 1965, that was also an essential outline, or guide if you will, formulating a plan for the re-emergence of South Korea into a self supporting industrialized nation, not at all dis-similar to the challenges we all face today as our modern marketplaces have shifted and paradigms have changed and we again set off into uncharted territories.

The most massive challenge of all perhaps was that this country had been severely decimated by a terrible war, but a war that guaranteed their freedom from the oppressive North.

My Father's brief, however very articulate blueprint, is precisely what was needed and followed, and as I am certain it would be improper to credit my Father 100% with all of South Korea's success in a relatively short time of a mere six decades, it illustrates what vision and efficient planning can bring to fruition, which today is the eighth healthiest economy because of hard work and exceptional planning and leadership, which is all far too lacking here today at home as we ourselves here in The United States seek a re-invention of sorts.

I will now enclose my Fathers poignant words, and If I have used that word a bit too often, it is certainly on purpose, because no other word is as perfect in such situations.



Page 1

It is a distinct privilege for me to be able to speak to you members of
the Inchon Rotary Club. I am sorry that I will not be able to speak to you in
Korean for much is often lost in translation. Fortunately, my good friend Major Choi
will translate for me, so I feel certain that my ideas will be effectively conveyed
to you.

Inasmuch as I need so much assistance to speak to you, I am reminded of a
story told about a candidate seeking public office in a certain state in the United States. He
needed help too. His problem was that he was new in politics and had no public
speaking experience. It was decided that what he needed was practice in
speaking before a live audience.

After much searching for an audience, the
candidate’s supporters finally arranged for him to speak before the inmates of a
men’s prison. Eventually the candidate stood before the prisoners and began his
practice speech. “Ladies and Gentlemen.”
He paused and thought a moment. He
realized that there were no ladies there. He began again, “Gentlemen;” and once more
he paused as he realized that there could be no gentlemen among these prison
inmates. Desperately, he continued, “Anyway, I am glad to see so many of you here.”
I, like that candidate, am glad to see so many of you here. I trust, of course,
that you are not a captive audience.
Seriously now, I am familiar with the goals that the Rotary Clubs in the
United States have set for themselves, and I am certain that you here in Korea have
equally worthy objectives.
Mr. Joo, your club vice chairman, originally
contacted me through Mr. Choi. Mr. Choi asked that I speak about the role of
engineers in the industrialization of Korea and the benefits that Korea can expect to
derive through further industrialization.

Page 2

Most of you can probably identify me as an engineer by my uniform, so you can
understand my eagerness to accept the invitation.
How can industrialization benefit Korea?

It can provide Korea with manufactured goods for use in international trade.
A country which has goods or materials that other countries need will have a more
favorable balance of trade; that is, the ratio of the value of exports to the value
of imports is favorable. With a favorable balance of trade, the WON will be worth
more on the international scene and hence worth more here in Korea when it is spent in
purchasing items of foreign manufacture.

Many items presently made by hand in Korea can be produced in an
industrialized Korea and can be sold to the Korean consumers at prices lower
than the prices paid for similar handmade items.
Here, again, the value of the
Won will have been increased and the family wage-earner can more adequately
provide for the family.

The industrialization process will generate jobs for more people. These
people will have more money to spend. This money, in turn will be spent on goods
that they and other people have manufactured or on services that other people
provide. As a result many people benefit from the prosperity of one person.
These, then, are ways; in which industrialization can help Korea.
Assuming now, that we are all agreed that Korea would benefit from industriali-
zation, let us discuss the things that are required for successful industrial-
ization. Raw materials are required, a skilled labor pool is necessary, factories
are needed, a market on which the manufactured products can be sold must be
available, and an efficient transportation system to move the raw materials from their
source to the factories and to move the finished products from the factories to the
markets is necessary.

Page 3

Let us now consider these items one by one so that we may see exactly what
Korea’s status is with respect to each and to determine what hope there is for
improvement and for ultimate success.
We must admit that the unfortunate and artificial division of Korea that came
about upon the signing of the armistice at Panmunjom in 1953 has an exceedingly
detrimental effect upon the whole of Korea. South Korea (the Republic of Korea) is
left with few of the raw materials which are so necessary for development of the
basic industries. Specifically, there are shortages of coal, iron ore, timber, and
petroleum. There are also shortages of many of the other minerals needed in
industry. Additionally, there are few remaining river systems possessing
potential for producing large quantities of water power. These are great obstacles
indeed, but they need not be regarded as insurmountable.
The United States
imports iron ore and. petroleum from Venezuela.
It imports petroleum from the
Middle East.
Its tin comes from Bolivia and Southeast Asia, and much of its
copper comes from Chile. Japan imports petroleum from Southeast Asia, coal from
the US and has plans for getting iron ore from Australia. Great Britain imports
wool and hides from Australia, petroleum from the Middle East, and coal from
the United States. West Germany imports iron from Sweden. The object of my citing
these examples is to point out that other nations have this same problem that Korea has.
They have been able to overcome the problem because they all produce goods that other
countries need. With some help from its friends, Korea can initialy develop light
industries which will provide it with goods to trade for the raw materials needed in
heavy industry.
Let us next examine the labor situation. Today, there is a lack of skilled
labor in Korea. This is not to say that Korea has no skilled labor. Certainly it has
skilled labor in its railroad, motor transport, electric power, construction,

Page 4

communications, and other industries.
What I do mean is that there is a
shortage of people with skills needed to rapidly expand those industries and to
man the machines in new industries that must be brought into Korea. Here again the
problem is not insurmountable.
European and American companies have had
much success in operating subsidiaries throughout the world in which the machine
operators and supervisory personnel are local nationals. I work with Korean nationals
in my office everyday. These men and women are quick to grasp new ideas and to
learn to execute complicated tasks with efficiency. I can state with authority that
the Korean people can be trained for the jobs that industry requires. It should
not be difficult to get this assistance from the government and industrial
interests of friendly nations.
In addition, Korea can build schools for
technical training. It is worth noting that the people in the United States who suffer
from unemployment are the people who have no technical training.
As for the factories that will be needed, many can be built through various aid
programs. You have fertilizer and cement factories that were built in just this
There is no reason this program should stop with these.
business interests are generally willing to construct factories and invest capital
where there is legitimate hope for a reasonable profit. Your government can
arrange fair agreements in which the companies can be assured of a profit and. the
Korean people can be insured against exploitation. Initially, you will need
engineering help from your friends, but you will gradually develop your own
reservoir of engineering skill and know-how.
An example of engineering skill
already developed here in Korea is your ability to design and construct prefabricated
buildings made of prestressed concrete.
I have in mind the beautiful Freedom
House that you have erected at Panmunjom. I have personally seen this monument to
freedom and I can tell you that the Republic of Korea can well be proud of it.
Initially, you will want to concentrate your efforts on small factories producing

Page 5

consumer goods. Capital for these factories will be easier to get. Hong Kong and
Japan are excellent examples of the success of such programs.
Japan, of course,is a
great industrial country today.
As for having a market for products that you will manufacture here in Korea, you
will find that you will have a market both here and overseas.
The general
industrialization will provide jobs for people and income with which they can
buy what they and others make in Korean factories. Because you will have the
advantage of low wage rates in your factories, and because your factories will be new
and efficient, you will be able to compete favorably in international trade.
The remaining item that we need to discuss is the need for transportation.
This is the area in which engineers will be primarily engaged in the initial
stages of Korea’s further industrialization. In. the United States, the Army
Corps of Engineers is given much credit for the settling and ultimate industriali-
zation of our country. There were vast areas of wilderness which were completely
unknown and untapped. There were no highways and no railroads. Floods raged
down our rivers during flood season. Our government recognized the vast potential
of the American West and gave the Army the mission of protecting the settlers
and opening avenues for progress
History leaves no doubt as to the success of those
pioneers, the Army in general, and the Corps of Engineers in particular.
Korea today is starting on a much higher plane than the one on which the United
States began. Your country is well mapped. I know this from my service here in 1953
and 1954. This truth has become even more apparent to me during this present tour.
You have an excellent railroad system. It needs to be extended along the east
coast and additional connecting lines and spur lines need to be built.
Nevertheless, the railroads that you have are well built, well maintained, and
well operated. This is a tremendous asset.

Page 6

Looking at the highway system, Korea is moving rapidly ahead in the paving of
arterial highways. You will soon have a paved highway extending north and south
from Munsan to Pusan. I understand that the highway will be paved in the east-
west direction from Inchon through Chunchon and on to Kwandae-ri before the end of
the year.
These improvements will be of great benefit to Korea.
transportation costs will be greatly reduced because of the increased efficientcies
that will be possible in operating vehicles. The improved efficiency results from
the ability to make more round trips in a given period of time due to the increased
speeds that will be possible and because of the reduction in vehicle maintenance costs
that good roads will bring about. The ROKACorps of Engineers is playing much the
same role in your country that our Corps of Engineers played in our country. Your
pavements are of quality equal to the highways in the United. States. Our roads are
generally wider and straighter in most sections of the country but the riding
surfaces are almost identical.
You must press rapidly ahead in your highway
construction programs so that factories can be located throughout the country and so
that the products that you manufacture can be distributed easily to all sections of
the country.
We, in the United States, are working toward a solution to a
similar problem. In the mountainous eastern portion of the United States, there is a
general area known as Appalachia. This is a poverty-stricken area. It has little
industry. One of the reasons is that the transportation system, both highway and
railroad, is very poor.
Our national government is undertaking an aggressive
highway construction program in this area so that industry can move into the area
and bring greater prosperity. You can reasonably expect your highway programs
to improve Korea’s economic situation.
Having now disposed of the railroad and highway segments of the Korean trans-
portation system, we need finally to examine Korea's ability to move goods by water.
This capability is the one which will determine Korea’s ability to import raw

Page 7

materials and to ship its industrial goods to foreign markets. In this regard,
Korea is well off.
There are good ports strategically located on the eastern,
western, and southern coasts. Those ports are served by railroads and highways.
Ironically, the most significant problem concerning ports exists here in the city
where we are gathered today. Inchon, unfortunately, experiences a tremendous
tidal fluctuation which prevents ships from anchoring close to shore on low tide.
This difficulty is overcome to some extent by the tidal basin that has been built here.
This basin will have to be expanded for Seoul and Inchon to benefit fully from Korea’s
industrial growth. This expansion will involve a major engineering and construction effort,
but it undoubtedly will eventually be economically feasible.
I hope that I have not painted a picture that is too bright or too dismal. It
has been my intent to demonstrate that Korea can successfully further industrialize
but that it will take time and effort by all concerned.
A logical question is, “What can we do to assist in the industrialization
This is a good question.
Individuals such as you in the
audience who are influential in the community and in clubs, such as this
Inchon Rotary Club, can be of great assistance.
First, give energetic
support to your young people who are getting scientific, engineering, business,
and other professional education. Secondly, remember that this industrialization
will not take place overnight. It will have to be accomplished step by step. Your
community might, therefore, not be the first to benefit from your government's
industrialization program.
The important thing to remember is that every Korean
benefits from the prosperity of a single individual or community. Therefore, you must
give full support to any logical program even though you may not be the
immediate primary beneficiary. I wish you good luck and complete success.

Page 8

Thank you for having allowed me to address such a distinguished group
as yourselves. I hope that I, in some small way, may have helped rekindle
your interest and hope for Korea’s successful industrialization.

Thank you.

~ Address given by Major Donald R. Swygert, 2d Engr Gp (Const), on 27 Oct 1965  ~


I had never read this or even had any awareness about this address my Father had authored or given until I received it in an email from him on August 21, 2013.

I do not intend to self promote in this paragraph, but I will use a small excerpt from my own writing published by The United States department of Energy from Oct 1, 2010, and it is quite uncanny to me how there are so many similarities and the same fortes, however my stressing is post industrialization, as we have truly all internationally embarked upon an entirely new era.

My excerpt, and the entire article maybe read at the link enclosed below:

" This to me is exactly the essence of what the " GREEN MOVEMENT" is all about. First, reducing our own personal carbon footprint by efficiently consuming less natural resources through the use of modern and more efficient technology. Using this more modern technology creates a new work force with a fresh clean perspective, thus creating more jobs in many ways from manufacturing the new products (often made of recycleables), teaching the new philosophy and techniques to students in the trade on their way to earning their licenses, and thusly creating new jobs as we push the envelope to gain the upper hand on treating Mother Earth more properly and respectfully. Once this cycle has started we can continue down a path of better design by engineers making even more efficient products that not long were even deemed possible or at the very least, not feasible. Each change in technology has the ability to further revolutionize this new "Green Industry" thus propelling the industry along. 

This is what I consider a new philosophy that has been evolving in the last few recent years very rapidly especially and mostly due to our recent and/or current recession and the fears faced by the rise in fuel prices (in particular petroleum products). These are valuable lessons we are learning and this is something we can demonstrate and share with the rest of the world as we pave the way into a new green future, but it takes fine programs like these.

As an early nation we were strictly in an "Agricultural Era", as all we had was raw land. Once we became efficient as a nation and were able to sustain life at home in the U.S.A. with the food we grew and other raw materials we farmed and with the wealth we started to amass as a nation while trading at home and especially abroad with other nations, we began to transition into an "Industrial Age". After labor prices rose here for many reasons, we often outsourced labor to other nations, as it was often less expensive to manufacture in those nations and then ship it abroad and/or back home for trade. We were the industrial giant of the world. After amassing even greater wealth and becoming one of, if not the most, wealthiest nations in the world and with our labor prices rising ever sharper, we made the transition into the "Service Age". We. as a nation are beyond that now as an era and are, I believe, at the beginning of the wild frontier of the "Green Era". We now have the ability to pave the way for the world and with the world as we are upon the threshold of this new golden age. The basic philosophy of this program simply illustrates how it helps so many from the less fortunate as myself, to the blue collar workers all the way up to the white collar professionals. This is a simple and beautiful system that should be emulated often during this transition that is currently effecting all industries and market places. We, in the great state of Maryland in particular, should be proud that we are on the cutting edge of the new "Green Era" as we are swiftly becoming the leaders setting the stage for others to follow. We in Maryland utilize wind, hydro, and solar energy and are doing so more and more often every year. We, as a nation, must maintain this path of growth and efficiency in order to move forward and build our new worldwide economy while setting an example for other countries."

My thoughts flow along the exact same lines that can and will follow a path to a new success, and if we are diligent as South Korea was, we will see these same types of benefits, and the paradigm shift has begun.

The lessons here in are many, but the few I will name are a commitment to selfless  dedication for the greater good of all citizens, a forte on building infrastructure so needed to complete these goals, and a massive emphasis on education for these fields today where we are far too lacking in skilled man power for these new high technology jobs.

I envisioned my own ideas along with others, with the input of a lot of research, experience, studying, interviews, and contemplation, and it was the only concise and clear picture I could envision that suits the measures needed today against current juxtapositions to the health and prosperity of our economy and eco-system that offers a promise for a future that  has been as fruitful of our past, both nationally and internationally.

A recent article in the Cumberland Times News appears tome to be an excellent idea that would further compliment our centralized location to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as I have previously written about many times, and if the projected numbers are accurate this should be an idea embraced an quickly promoted so that no time is wasted on what appears to be a brilliant idea that would add a lot of jobs in many sectors and for the bolster this entire area, and pave a way to more future projects that would be complimentary to this new hub.

Below are a few quotes out of context that will paint a clear picture of what is in the planning stages thus far.

CSX railroad property near Carpendale could become freight hub

— CARPENDALE, W.Va. — Mona Ridder, executive director of the Mineral County Development Authority, is working to promote the idea of an intermodal facility on 300 acres of CSX property that lies along the North Branch of Potomac River adjacent to Carpendale. The proposal is in the very beginning stages and Ridder hopes to have a meeting with all the key players to brainstorm and move the project forward.

Highway upgrades in West Virginia to accommodate the facility would be minimal and would be done at two small intersections in Ridgeley with state Route 28, according to Ridder.

An intermodal facility uses two or more forms of transportation to move goods or commodities in or out of an area, according to Doug York, West Virginia Public Port Authority executive director, who has expressed an interest in the project. An example would be the Heartland Intermodal Gateway at Prichard, where cargo is transfered from rail to trucking.

York has received Ridder’s proposal and noted the next step would be a feasibility study, which would look at things like where the closest port of call is located. Ridder indicated that the MCDA would be willing to pay for the study but it would have to go to the board for approval. The nearest inland port to the region is located in Front Royal, Va., according to Ridder.

The North/South Highway study that was completed in 2000 and updated in 2010 indicated that construction and upgrade of the highway, which has been an initiative of the TGCC, would likely produce 20,000 construction jobs and 10,00 permanent jobs, according to Ridder.

So here is yet another fine example of a project that would be very fruitful and a project that we need in this area tremendously.

10,000 permanent jobs for this are is nothing to sneeze at, because that is equal to over 50% of this small cities population.

This can greatly establish us as a main regional hub for transport as well as bolster our foothold in Green Era industry as we would have the transportation aspects in place for the goods we could produce here at home.

I have also suggested and engineering college here at home in Cumberland along with a complimentary Science and Technology High School, and some local politicians have suggested at least a large college coming into this are as well.

What I have seen on a local level is a very poor collection of unconnected ideas not well promoted by a core of individuals not willing to work with a collective team of citizens on a better plan to present to these outside institutions, and we may miss the train on this possibility if the proper proposal does not materialize.

I have a 38 year tenured doctor from Howard University that said he would assist me as well as a friend at Northrop Grumann, among other well qualified that offered to help for free, but as it is all too typical for this area, no return calls or emails were sent to me in reply concerning my propositions. Also these professionals had offered to help for free and have the connections and expertise to make a proposal that would thrust this area into the forefront of modern engineering to compliment the other institutions in our general area.

Today in this world we all reside in, we are at a cross roads now and we do not have to see the perils upon us get any worse if we stick to this path and philosophy of the Green Era and encourage and promote and have great trust in the promise of hard work as we become better educated while building these similar infrastructures, as mentioned above, where needed and designed to more modern standards for our country as well as promoting them abroad while we set the example, similar to what my Father shared with his own vision which has certainly, with no doubt what so ever, brought great prosperity to our friends and allies in South Korea.

I simply feel that, if I do not share modern vision that is being embraced today during the toughest of times, which I think are times far worse then the great depression just by shear numbers and statistics alone, I am doing a dis-service by not sharing the truthful and honest history that is a story of dedicated, thought out, well prepared, efficient planning, and work, that has brought a great amount of prosperity to a once very recently ravaged nation, our friends in the beloved and beautiful South Korea.

Switching gears back to the Anniversary of July 27, 2013 and the experience of the ceremony, speeches and new found friend, I will finish by sharing those enlightening experiences I shared with my family.

My family had the pleasure of meeting Young-Key Kim-Renaud and I will enclose some pictures here that are truly wonderful keepsakes of such a fine day, and as a writer and poet myself, I felt so very honored to meet her and hope to speak with her more as time goes by and learn from her through the experiences she can share that will enhance our lives and help to further promote peace.

Retired Colonel Donald R. Swygert (U.S.M.A. Class of 1952) and Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud (below)

                     Retired Colonel Donald R. Swygert and Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud (below)

        Lisa Swygert, Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud, and Donald R. Swygert Jr. (U.S.M.A. Class of 1982) 

                                       Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud and John "Stephen"Swygert

The last two lines of the final stanza,

"Look where we are and where they are--
  It is not a Forgotten War, but the magic lives on and on."

in Dr. Young-Key Kim-Renaud's poem for me personally are the most poignant, because they sum up the entirety of a conflict that teaches us that there were overwhelming success stories amidst and above and beyond certain tragedies. 

The victory is a certain thing, and there was no tie or loss to the North Koreans in this war's aftermath, as South Korea has a rich heritage preserved and a wholesome thriving economy, thanks to those that opposed such aggression.

This was a long overdue recognition and celebration for these fine men and women and for 60 years of PEACE!!!


Nearly 8,000 Americans never returned home at all, and are fully un-accounted for.

Nearly 2.5 million men and women died in this conflict, an absolutely devastating number!

As World War II veterans are now a rare source of personal testimony sharing history, so to are we losing these men and women who deserve the utmost respect and to never be forgotten.

When you personally see an 84 year old man, a veteran of this war, a retired West Point Colonel, my beautiful Father, get teary eyes and celebrate being by the members of his family sharing this time as we did, it strikes deeper then any chord I have ever known.

My Father is, and always has been, a steadfast rock of a man, and rarely ever shows any threads of weakness, and he held true this day as well, as he shared joy, triumph for another nation that appreciates this country, and I am certain a great appreciation for returning home and having a family and a life so fulfilled.

It may be nearly impossible to feel or receive these same sentiments by simply watching, but trust me, these men were truly honored, and appreciated it in the most humbling way.

To see the strongest and smartest and finest man I have ever known emotional at all was striking to say the least, and perhaps that is why I have thought and thought and prayed about these fine men and women since that day, even as I went about my other business.

When men and women, our beloved and sacred veterans, are finally appreciated properly for doing what is right and will always be right, PROTECTING FREEDOM, you can see at least a little of the pains and anguish slip further away.

I have never fought or served, and I do not know these pains nor will I pretend to, but I have observed very closely many great men and women, and read and shared many stories from other veterans, and they want nothing but to be embraced.

I have a friends whose father survived Auschwitz, and he shared greatly with me. I miss him dearly.

I had a high school teacher at Ft. Hunt, Mr (Misure/Senor) Leonard Ahearn, who was in the first wave of Normandy as they struck the beach, and he shared intimate details with me because I pried for this information, as I begged him and he asked why, and got fuming mad, I shared that my Father was a veteran, and I knew it hurt too much to share these details with his youngest son, but I needed to know these things so that I could share this knowledge and help to make a statement with my life to at least some degree that we must not repeat these things again, at any cost, when so possible.

Wow, I saw what he explained, as his command of the English language was so perfect while it painted a very poignant picture for my mind's eye.

I miss him as well, as he too has passed like my friend Mr. Arthur Menke. Art Menke

Art, I hope you do not mind that I shared about your Father, he was such a beautiful soul.

President Obama gave a great speech and honored these brave men and women as so deserved along with many other great speakers, be they poets, politicians, public servants, service men and women, etc., and as my Republican Father and Brother stated (both West Pointers), he and we as well have a lot to deliver!

There is no division through party affiliation towards freedom and honor ever.

We all as Americans must set aside political fracases and focus on a brighter and better tomorrow for this and all coming generations.

I do not say that at all to incense anyone, but rather motivate each of us to learn to respect life even more, because all these men never wanted me or anyone else to ever experience war! They have each individually shared that with me by sharing those words after sharing horrific experiences in  great and graphic detail.

Peace is tough to preserve, but preventing war is priceless!

Peace has become to cliche, and veterans of all lands too forgotten far too often.

As a generation folds into the sands of time, what lessons will we each learn that they so dearly want us to, such that many gave their very own lives to deliver that message loud and clear?

God Bless our country and our veterans.

May we learn deep and lasting lessons so that these precious lives were not lost in vane.