Language selection



Anchor: When the Korean War broke out in 1950, few people knew why. Only a handful of Canadians truly understood the reason for Canada's participation and, unlike other wars that are extensively talked about in history class and often depicted in movies, almost no one learned what it was all about over the decades.

But many men lost their lives for the freedom of South Korea and the ones who did come back are changed forever.

Now that we have heard their stories…

Let us not forget their sacrifice.

André Dequoy: The Korean War is called the forgotten war because it took years for those who fought in Korea to be recognized as veterans. It was not a war, it was a ‘police action’. For example, the 528 Canadians who are buried in Korea... pffft. It took 50 years. Three years ago, the government finally recognized us as veterans and erected a small monument in Ottawa. We went to the official ceremony. Until then, though, we weren't even considered veterans.

Kenneth Garbutt: A nation that can't remember its war dead will soon not be worth dying for. So if you can't remember your war dead then future generations are not going to even try. It's not worth it.

Bryant Weber: When I joined the Legion, I found out that it was probably because we didn't talk enough that people didn't understand and remember.

Jean-Émile Paillé: It's by talking that you jar your memory, but there are a lot of things that I shouldn't talk about. I will take them to my grave. I will never tell anyone. I try to forget. If I have trouble sleeping at night, I don't want to think of those things, because one thing leads to another, and it just keeps going... I'd rather have peace of mind.

Bryant Weber: When I got out of the Navy, I threw out all my medals. I let it all go. Then, about 18 years ago, a guy at the Legion in Gatineau told me that I should talk about it. I raised 8 kids. They didn't even know I had been in the war. You know, you just don't want to talk about it.

Gerald Edward Gowing: You know you're adventurous, but you never realize what you're really getting into. War is hell.

Guy Édouard Gauthier: Some guys say Korea wasn't that bad. But I'm not one of them. It changed me. You know what I mean? In many ways. Nerves, sleeping. I had a lot of trouble sleeping after, and my wife thought I'd changed. You're more aggressive when you come back, it seems. More impatient.

Albert Hugh MacBride: Later on in life you start thinking about these things. Then you can't sleep. I mean when I first got married my wife threw her arm around me and I thought it was a rat and I grabbed and..., things like that. And the women that we did marry put up with a lot with us. I drank pretty heavy, real heavy, just trying to... drown things out. Doesn't work.

Yvan Paquin: It's been 54 and a half years... 55 years this fall, and it's as if it was yesterday. It doesn't go away.

Roland Boutot: To go so far and die. These young guys, 18, 19, 20 years old. It takes its toll. The tears well up whether you like it or not.

Yvan Paquin: 101 bucks a month to go get killed. Pretty cheap, huh?

Noel Knockwood: These are the ones that we remember on Armistice Day celebrations that we... At least, I say a little prayer for the... my buddies that I knew that gave up, that gave the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice was they gave up their lives. They're no longer with us today and I think of those people when we do our ceremonies.

Kenneth Garbutt: And let's face it, those that have given their lives have given our children a legacy, a monument, and our children are that monument, in actual fact.

Did you know ...

American armoured vests, also worn by Canadian soldiers, reduce casualties by 30 per cent.

See more facts
Date modified: