Share This Page

Korean War vets, many who say they felt forgotten, honored in Greensburg ceremony

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Bill Moore of Wilkins Township, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant and four-time Purple Heart recipient, presents Korean War veteran Joe Hornin of Greensburg, also a Korean War veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient, with a Veterans of the Korean War Commemorative Medal on Saturday, July 27, 2013, in the VFW Post 33 building in Greensburg.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Harry Branthoover of Hempfield, a Korean War veteran who served with the 73rd Tank Batallion, listens as William E. Moore, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant, addresses the crowd on Saturday, July 27, 2013, in the VFW Post 33 building in Greensburg. Moore was on hand to speak about his experiences in the Korean War and the 60th anniversary of the armistice signing.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Bill Moore of Wilkins Township, a retired Marine Corps master sergeant and recipient of four Purple Hearts, addresses the crowd on Saturday, July 27, 2013, in the VFW Post 33 building in Greensburg.

Korean War veterans finally received their due on Saturday.

In VFW Post 33 in Greensburg, in hundreds of meeting places for veterans across the nation and in Washington, Korean War soldiers were honored on the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.

“This is good,” said Bill Moore, 83, of Wilkins Township, the guest speaker in Greensburg, where about 40 people attended. “There is a mixture of different services, which all came together as one group. That's the big thing.”

Moore, a Marine master sergeant who received four Purple Hearts and a Silver Star during his time in Korea, was in an outpost on Little Berlin Hill, about nine miles from Panmunjom, when he heard the armistice had been signed on July 27, 1953.

“It was passed down the line,” he remembered. “You couldn't keep that a secret.”

Moore celebrated with a bottle of fine scotch.

“It was a job well done,” he added.

Many Korean War veterans said they felt forgotten when they returned home, much like their brethren back from Vietnam.

Some who voiced that sentiment in Greensburg on Saturday said the celebration made them feel better.

“It was very nice,” said Joe Hornin, 83, of Greensburg, a combat medic during the war. “It shows that somebody appreciated us.”

“It's very nice,” said Stan Plonsky, 80, who served in the Navy.

Post 33 Commander Cliff Smith and Chaplain Bob Stricklin, both Vietnam veterans, said they wanted to do something special for their Korean War brothers in arms, knowing how they, themselves, felt when they returned from battle.

“I thought it was excellent,” Smith said of the program.

“I think it was a long time coming,” added Stricklin, an organizer of the Greensburg celebration. “It was a forgotten war. It's not a forgotten war any longer.”

“For a period of time, it was forgotten,” Moore said. “When we came home, there was nothing. We went back to our homes, and Pennsylvania gave us $280 for our service, and that was it.”

He said he believes Americans' sentiments changed a few years ago.

Those who attended the celebration watched the Washington ceremony, “Heroes Remembered,” on a big-screen television.

During his speech near the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, President Obama noted that Korean War veterans returned to an American public tired of war after World War II and Korea. The population was eager to move forward, he noted.

“You, our veterans of Korea, deserved better,” Obama said. “Here in America, no veteran should be forgotten, no veteran overlooked.”

Besides receiving recognition, Korean War veterans used the time to remember.

Moore, who spent 30 years in the service, recalled being face-first in rice paddies.

“Ah, that … water,” he said during his talk.

He joked that he could understand how a soldier could receive one Purple Heart or even two, “but you get three or four, that's carelessness.”

Harry Branthoover of Hempfield served with an Army tank battalion in Korea in 1953.

“We got there and they told us (that there were) 3 miles of paved roads,” he recalled. “We never saw it. It was all dirt and mud.”

Moore's wife, Deborah, thanked the veterans for the freedom they gave her and other Americans.

“I'm so happy when I get up on Sunday morning and worship as I please ,” she said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.