Korean War Veterans Lunch Marked by Mutual Appreciation


November 12th, 2010 Banya Lim, President, Sedona Korean American Association, 928-567-7897, banya4acu@gmail.com

Korean War Veterans Lunch Marked by Mutual Appreciation

Hosted by the Sedona Korean-American Association in special recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War

SEDONA– November 12th, 2010.  Relived via countless popular TV shows, movies, songs, and even Broadway hits, World War II and the Vietnam War feel familiar even to those who weren’t alive at the time they were raging. The War that was sandwiched between them- the Korean War, is often overshadowed, outside of M*A*S*H fans.

For the seventy plus people crowded closely together in the Mago Healing Center this Friday however, there have been few events more significant or worthy of commemoration than the time they served in, or the time their families lived through, the Korean War.

Bud Collette travelled from Payson to attend the event with his wife, Jean.  He served in the Army for almost seven years and was in active duty in Korea for 10 months.  “I was declared ‘Killed in Action’ for four days,” he recalled.  “She (Jean, who was not yet then his wife) thought I was dead”.  His unit was ambushed on a hill, and their orders were to leave everything behind and fall back.  He recalled racing downhill as the Communist ran up it, right by him.  He got lost, but fortunately found another group of GI’s.  Four days later he found his base camp and discovered he was reported as killed in action, and that his family had already been alerted.  ‘My buddy thought he saw me go down’, he recalled.

Ben Allen, from Prescott, AZ, fought in Korea from September of 1950 until October of 1951.  He remembers fighting up and down the entire country, serving near the Yalu River (between what is now North Korea and China), until the Chinese entered the war.  At that point, they were chased down to the 38th parallel, which still divides the country between democratic South Korea and communist North Korea today.

The event was hosted by the Sedona Korean-American Association to show appreciation to the veterans for what they did for South Korea.  Not expecting such a large turnout, President Banya Lim was visibly moved by the event.  “We wanted to give back in small ways because I don’t think they got the recognition they deserved”, shares Lim.  “My Dad was in the war, and I grew up hearing stories how he fought with the GI’s by his side.  When I hear their stories, it feels like they are my family.  They are all like my Dads.” During the ceremony, each Veteran received a Certificate of Appreciation, watched an commemoration video created by the Korean Government to mark the 60th anniversary, and shared their personal stories of their time in the war.

The warm feeling at the gathering was mutual from both sides.  Jean and Bud Collette never got a chance to travel back to Asia since the war, but have met many South Koreans here in Arizona and have always been touched how thankful they are. “I am so impressed with the sincerity of the Koreans (I have met), how thankful they are that our men helped them,” Mrs. Collette shared.

Sedona Korean American Association is planning to have regular Korean War Veterans gatherings.  The Association is working with the Korean government to invite Veterans to commemorate their contribution.  They are also helping with the Peace Camp in Korea for the Veterans’ grandchildren.  For more information about the Sedona chapter of the Korean-American Association, please contact Banya Lim, President, at 928-567-7897 or visit sedonakorean.org.

Korean War Veterans Appreciation Day-Group Picture
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