When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher, Mr. Anderson, was called to active duty. He was a U.S. Marine officer. He went off to fight in the Korean War, which began in the summer of 1950 when 75,000 North Korean soldiers swept across the 38th Parallel into South Korea.
Not too long after Mr. Anderson left our school, we learned that he had been killed in action.
I will never forget the assembly where we all gathered to learn about his death and about the impending war in that far-away place. I remember all the crying. And we wondered if we were in any danger from “those people.”
As a junior Navy officer in 1963, I was in South Korea for less than a day when my ship stopped to pick up several hundred American men and women (children, too) in Pusan and took them to Hong Kong for a few days of rest and relaxation (R&R). These were civilian workers serving in that country.
And now Korea is back in my consciousness as that country, headed by a maniacal dictator — bent on proving he is more powerful than the U.S. (and much of the rest of the world) — who is threatening about half the globe.
What is scary is that our own president, Donald Trump, who I consider to be equally maniacal in many ways, is hurling verbal threats back at North Korea.
Thank goodness cooler heads in the U.S. are raising their voices and seeking non-military solutions to a threat of nuclear war from the North Koreans.
Years ago I read somewhere that there is “no reasoning with an unreasonable man.”
I don’t know how we reason with Kim Jong-un (or President Trump). Both behave like petulant children. It is imperative, however, that we never stop trying to talk with him. I agree that we should be ready with a strong defense if Kim decides to launch what will more than likely be a suicide mission for him and his nation with devastating implications for South Korea.
We never signed a peace treaty with North Korea. Technically the war is still on.
How long must the world have to deal with threats of this kind? The current war with Afghanistan has gone on for more than 15 years. No place appears to be safe from the threat of terrorists.
But I don’t want a schoolyard bully with his hands on the nuclear codes leading us into war.
I hope no preemptive military strikes come from this nation.
Lon Allan's column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.