Korean War veterans in Illinois mark 65th anniversary of armistice agreement

CHICAGO — On the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, veterans of the Korean War gathered in Kennedy Park on the Southwest Side.

The director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs called for Congress to pass House Bill 5222, which recognizes Korean War veterans from the allied countries.

"The purpose of the bill is to award congressional gold medals collectively to Korea combat veterans in recognition of their service during the Korean war," Brigadier General Stephen Curda said.

"These men and women signed a blank check willing to give their lives if need be," he added.

An estimated 5.7 million veterans served in Korea. And as the years pass, more and more die to due illness and age. Those at Saturday's gathering said it's important to pass congressional legislation now to honor veterans while they're still alive.

Mary Boa is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served during the Korean War. She believes more needs to be done.

"Well," she said, "it's the forgotten war. ... People don't realize that 40,000 men died during that war."

The passage of legislation, proponents say, would guarantee the recognition due.