SPRINGFIELD – Illinois veterans have been providing their accounts and histories of the Korean War through the Korean War National Museum (KWNM) in Springfield’s speaker series. The museum’s fourth event featuring veterans and others from “The Forgotten War” is at 2 p.m. June 22 at 9 Old State Capitol Plaza in Springfield when Maija Rhee Devine, wife of former Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Director Michael J. Devine, will relate her experiences in the conflict.
Guests will have a chance to meet Devine and listen to her experiences and ask questions. Students, educators, and media are welcome and encouraged to attend. Visitors may also review the museum’s memorabilia, uniforms and artifacts.
Devine was a child in Korea when war broke out. She will read from her novel, “The Voices of Heaven,” set during the Korean War and relate her experiences, particularly of South Koreans’ gratitude toward the United Nations and U.S. intervention during the war and appreciation for the U.S.-Korea alliance.
Other events are planned to honor the July 27, 1953, armistice and the men and women who served in the conflict. Speakers currently scheduled to talk at the Korean War National Museum include Edmund Wehrle, PhD. Aug. 31 and Floyd Cooper, Marine (Ret.) Sept. 14, both at 2 p.m.
Additionally, the movie “Chosin” will be shown at the Illinois State Museum’s Thorne Deuel Auditorium July 27 at 7 p.m. The Brian Iglesias documentary is about the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, a decisive battle in the Korean War, a brutal 17-day encounter in sub-zero weather in the winter of 1950 in which United Nations troops nicknamed the “The Chosin Few” including U.S. soldiers and Marines were encircled and outnumbered by Chinese troops.
Both the physical and virtual museums aim to bring to life the stories of individuals who served and partnered with nations around the world, providing insight to the challenges and accomplishments of the allied nations who fought against communist aggression. The KWNM further strives to recognize how the United Nations, United States, Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and China negotiated the Armistice.
Since that negotiation, much has changed. Communism has been deterred, the Republic of Korea has become a strong ally and example of democracy, American men and women of all races and backgrounds proudly serve side by side, and jet fighter aircraft technology pioneered back then advanced our military strength. South Korea has become a beacon of freedom and democracy in Southeast Asia and a world economic power with companies like Hyundai, Samsung, LG, and Daewoo impacting technology and daily lives.
For more information, visit the KWNM at 9 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield or visit http://www.kwnm.org.