Every Veterans Day residents of Cupertino gather at Memorial Park to recognize and honor veterans; this year there will be a special tribute to the veterans of the Korean War. Every year the services here are heartfelt, a true tribute.
If you notice, this article is marked “opinion” because as the writer of this article I feel obligated to mark it “opinion” because the Korean War is a significant mark in my family’s history.
My father fought in the Korean War, and while I was in school anything to with that Korea battle was labeled a “conflict” not a “war”. And it was underscored as such.
I never quite understood how the loss of our troops’ lives could be categorized differently and why the “conflict” was never seen as brave, courageous or worthy as the “wars” that were fought. Men still died; our men…and theirs.
We were lucky; my dad came home. I wouldn’t be writing this if he hadn’t come home. Actually, all but one of my siblings wouldn’t have been born if he hadn’t come home.
My dad was in Korea when my eldest brother, the first child of my family, was born. My father didn’t get to see his newborn son until six months after his birth. I have a framed photo of the three of them in my home office that was taken close to the time when my soldier-father first came home. Dad in his Army uniform, my mom decorated with her deep dimples, and my eldest brother, chubby cheeks, a wisp of blonde hair on his head, and a shallower version of our mom’s dimples.
My mother was a newlywed when her husband was shipped overseas. She was scared she would never see him again, but didn’t want to think about it, or talk about it. When he came home, he was different, she says. He saw war, so of course he would be different, she got that, but to those of us who don’t experience it…well, we haven’t seen the things the vets have so how could we possibly understand it.
I can remember digging through boxes of old photos and coming across photos of soldiers—including dead Koreans—and not understanding what I was looking at. They were photos I probably shouldn’t have seen as a child, and looking back at it I now understand why my father didn’t want to explain them to me.
I thank Cupertino for honoring vets, and this year in particular Korean vets; for honoring men like my father.
Please join the community on Nov. 11, at 11 a.m., for the city’s annual ceremony at Memorial Park where Military, Fire and Sheriff’s Departments Honor Guards as well as the Monta Vista Variations Choir at the Cupertino Veterans Memorial in Memorial Park will say “thank you” to all veterans. For more information visit, www.cupertinoveteransmemorial.org.
There will be free parking at De Anza College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m during the Veterans Day Program.
Editor's note: If you've made it this far in the article...do you think I look like my dad in the photo attached to this article?