Vice President Mike Pence flew to Hawaii and welcomed the delivery of remains that U.S. officials hope — and believe — are those of Korean War veterans who were lost in that bloody conflict nearly 70 years ago.
We all join in the hope that the families of the men who were lost can obtain some closure — finally — to the grievous loss they suffered in the early 1950s.
“Some have called the Korean War the forgotten war but today we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home,” Pence said at the ceremony where officials received the remains.
Read The Hill’s account here.
Yes, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un delivered on at least this one pledge he made when he met with Donald Trump in Singapore in June.
There now lies ahead the painstaking task of conducting forensic testing to determine the identities of the remains that have been delivered. U.S. officials today received 55 caskets. Each of the remains will be identified in due course.
Allow me a moment to put some of this tragic issue into some perspective. U.S. families and officials are rightly concerned about the loss of those who perished in wars abroad. They often pale in comparison to the agony that those on the other side also endure.
In 1989, I had the pleasure of touring Vietnam with other journalists. We traveled from Hanoi to Saigon, meeting with officials, many of whom were in office during the Vietnam War that claimed more than 50,000 American lives. It also has produced a missing in action list of some 2,000 or so Americans whose fate have not yet been determined.
We brought that issue up with a Vietnamese official, who then scolded us — politely, I must add. Vietnam needs no lecture from Americans on accounting for those who are MIA, he told us, adding that Vietnam (in 1989) had about 300,000 men missing from what the Vietnamese call “the American war.” I don’t know how many of those missing Vietnamese fighting men have been recovered and identified.
The point is that no matter how much anxiety we feel on our side of these conflicts, we also ought to extend a bit of empathy to those on the other side who, as fellow human beings, are enduring the same agony.
Only their numbers far exceed ours.
Still, I welcome Vice President’s pledge to ensure the return of these missing warriors. As the vice president noted, “Our work will not be completed until all our fallen heroes are accounted for and home.”