Hannah Kim and Puerto Rico’s Korean War Vets

July 27th was National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in the United States, and no one took this day more seriously than Hannah Y. Kim. Kim, who worked as Chief of Staff and Communications Director for former Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), a Korean War veteran.

Ms. Kim has spent many years advocating for Korean War veterans, but her recent project to honor this courageous group is particularly expansive in its scope.

Kim recently went on a world tour to celebrate and document the experiences of Korean War Veterans in 27 countries, including North Korea. Puerto Rico was one of her stops. The Borinqueneers, a Puerto Rico Army regiment back in the days of segregated regiments, particularly distinguished themselves in the Korean War. 61,000 Puerto Rican soldiers served during the Korean War, and the 65th Infantry Regiment received 10 Distinguished Service Crosses, 256 Silver Stars and 606 Bronze Stars for valor. This regiment conducted the last battalion-sized bayonet attack performed by the U.S. Army.

Kim visited the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon, accompanied by ten Borinqueneers and The Under Secretary from the Veterans Administration . They laid a wreath, visited the graves of members of the 65th Infantry Regiment, and interviewed several of the Borinqueneers.

These interviews are part of Kim’s oral history project. Korean War veterans are mostly now in their 90s. Kim is determined to collect and preserve their stories, while making sure that they know that their sacrifices are valued.

The Korean War has also sometimes been called “The Forgotten War,” and the contributions of the Borinqueneers were commemorated by a Congressional Medal of Honor in 2014, more than half a century after the Korean War ended.

Kim, herself a Korean American, is devoted to making sure that Korean War veterans do not feel forgotten.

Kim also hopes that her project will help to preserve peace on the Korean Peninsula. .

 

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