SALT LAKE CITY -- Memorial Day may not be until next week, but a special ceremony in Salt Lake City honored the heroes of what's called a "forgotten war”.
“It is called the forgotten war for a reason,” said Darryl J. Root of Veterans of Foreign Wars. “All the attention was World War II and Vietnam.”
The ceremony at Memory Grove Park remembers those who lost their lives serving in the Korean War. It’s a war that some veterans say doesn't get the attention it deserves.
“It was considered a police action; in some vernacular it's a war,” Root said.
About 140 Utahns were killed, and more than 30 are still missing in action. And for those who served, the legacy and memories of Korea continue.
“The war hasn't really been declared over yet,” Root said. “They've been kind of forgotten, and so I think it's important as a Korea defense veteran that we make sure that our veterans are recognized.”
Hannah Kim is visiting Korean War memorials in all 50 states.
“The state of Utah really honors its veterans,” Kim said.
Kim has a personal story behind her cross-country journey.
“I call the Korean War veterans my grandpas, because as a grateful Korean-American I tell them I wouldn't be here if they didn't fight 70 years ago,” Kim said.
She said she wants to shed light on this part of American history.
“They didn't get the hero's welcome that many of the World War II veterans did, and I just want them to know that they have not been forgotten, and we grateful Korean-Americans thriving across America have never forgotten them,” she said.
Kim is traveling to all 50 states, laying wreaths on the memorials and thanking the surviving veterans.
“I see tears in their eyes: tears of joy, tears of pain,” she said. “And I don't know, I feel like maybe for me to be bringing a smile to their face, I’m hoping to erase their pain from the war.”
As Memorial Day approaches, these veterans are hoping Americans will remember those who served.
“Take a moment and say thank you to all those that served and then take another moment and thank those family members,” Root said. “We can't do it without those family members. They're the heroes, not us.”