A monument commemorating the city's losses in the Korean War is situated outside City Hall.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 448 held a brief ceremony Saturday morning for the 68th anniversary armistice of the Korean War, also known as the "Forgotten War."
They gathered at the Korean War Memorial in front of City Hall and sounded a bell as each of the 20 names of Pittsfield residents killed in action during the conflict were read aloud. Taps was played by honor guard member Joseph Difilippo.
"Today, in behalf of the brave men to which their names appear on this monument, and to the 36,516 that lost their lives in the Korean conflict, and the 1,243 that lost their lives thereafter, often referred to as the second Forgotten War or the DMZ wars," Post Commander Arnie Perras said.
"And to the many others that have served their country without recognition, and to those still serving. We wish to honor them all in appreciation of their sacrifice and contributions towards the preservation of our freedoms and our values of the United States of America, and its allies."
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea after border conflicts and insurrections in the south. Hostile action ended unofficially on July 27, 1953, in a truce.
Perras asserted that the armistice did not actually end the war in 1953, but scaled it down and made it become somewhat of a hidden war. The truce was a cease-fire agreement and a peace agreement was never signed.
He said that after all these years, the United States is technically still at war and current situation is a cease fire.
"Again some actions were referred to as the second forgotten Korean War or the DMZ wars, and very active in the '60s, where many soldiers were killed in ambushes, firefights, and minefields, etc. Much of the time, involving the North Korean 124th Special Forces, highly skilled commandos," Perras explained.
"The existence of the 124th first became public knowledge with the 1968 attack on the South Korean presidential residence, the 'Blue House,' in an attempt to kill President Park Chung Hee. However, some fierce battles continued throughout the '60s, fought by more forgotten soldiers and continued for decades after the 1953 ceasefire."
In 1991, the United States began removing its troops from the Demilitarized Zone, at the time having 40,000 troops in the Republic of Korea. Today there are still about 28,500 U.S. troops deployed to South Korea.
"In addition to Korea, think of some of the other wars the U.S. has fought, such as Germany, Japan, Philippines, where we still have troops and military bases there, what most likely would have happened if we packed up and left, communism or dictators would return like Vietnam, and now perhaps Afghanistan, and whereby those that died, would have died in vain, where they came to give hope to a world or countries that were oppressed," Perras added.
"So it would appear that once the decision is made to enter a war, we should remember our history that we probably need to remain for many decades in order to prevent the oppression from reoccurring."
The Korean War Monument has lived in front of City Hall since Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2002. Perras is one of the two living Korean War Monument Committee members along with Jeffrey Thompson.
The names of Pittsfield residents who were killed in the war:
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