By Edward Graham
The Korean War is often known as the “forgotten war,” but the South Korean government continues to honor the service of American veterans who fought to protect that country’s right to exist.
Leander Moore, a Korean War veteran from the 101st Airborne who now lives in D.C., was the recipient of a recent Ambassador for Peace medal. The medal is awarded by the South Korean government as a sign of appreciation for U.S. and Canadian veterans that served in the conflict.
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who visited the country several weeks ago, gave out medals to veterans who were at the District’s VA hospital. Although Moore wasn’t able to attend the ceremony during the prime minister’s visit, he was still acknowledged for his service.
“I missed him during that time, but they still had my medal waiting for me,” Moore said.
Moore, who attended the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day, proudly wore his medal and a hat signifying his service.
“It means a lot to me to see the monument, to see the people on this wall,” Moore said, as he touched the stone facade facing the memorial, embossed with murals of soldiers. “I had a cousin die in a POW camp in Korea in 1951 by the name of Frank Bullock, and it means alot to honor him and others because we have paid and sacrificed in defense of this country. There’s a very spiritual aspect to it.”
Moore had a near brush with death before he even deployed to Korea. After finishing 16 weeks of infantry training at Camp Breckinridge in Morganfield, Kentucky, Moore and other soldiers were on a flight on their way to a military ship bound for Korea. The plane experienced technical difficulties and crashed in the Cascade Mountains. Moore was one of only five soldiers to survive the crash.
“I know if it hadn’t been for our heavenly father that I wouldn’t be here,” Moore said.
Moore now serves as the president of the Woodlawn Cemetery Perpetual Care Association, helping to maintain the cemetery grounds in Southeast D.C.