By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
The Korean War is often called "the forgotten war," but local soldiers refuse to tolerate that.
The Korean War Veterans Association Don C. Faith Cen-Tex Chapter 222 remembered the war and those who fought at a ceremony Thursday attended by more than 60 people at the Korean War Monument outside the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Michael Giccatti sometimes wishes the war, its casualties and the struggle would stay forgotten. Yet every year, despite the toll, he returns to the ceremony to support his comrades, he said.
"It's very emotional. It's pretty hard to sit and listen to this," Giccatti said. "I don't like to talk about it. We did what we had to do."
Giccatti said he has struggled to put the effects of war behind him, even attending mental hygiene programs with Veterans Affairs.
Still, he remembers with pride when in 1951, he, as part of an honor guard, stood across from North Korean forces during an attempt at a peace pact. Tension filled the air as both sides negotiated but tried not to provoke each other, Giccatti said.
The attempt failed. The war continued two more years until July 24, 1953.
"I was just lucky to be there and witness that," Giccatti said.
Thursday's ceremony commemorated the 59th anniversary of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950.
"We were all going to school doing our things. We never thought we would go to Korea. We didn't know where it was," said Alberto P. Gonzales, first vice president.
The Borinqueneers Riding Club, a motorcycle group that honors the all-Hispanic 65th Infantry Regiment of Puerto Rico, presented a portrait of a Korean War battle on Feb. 2, 1951, to the chapter Thursday.
"I see people who paid with blood and sacrifice for us to be in a free nation like this one," said Juan Rivera, Killeen councilman and a member of the club.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.