Friday, November 12, 2010

The Chosin Few, and One in Particular

At first glance, a friend thought there might be a typographical error in the sub-head of the review I posted on The Internet Review of Books yesterday -- Give Me Tomorrow.

"Chosen" instead of "Chosin."

After reading the review, she learned that the words honor the US Marines who participated in one of the epic battles of the Korean War, several days of intense fighting in freezing weather near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

The Marines and others were trapped by the Communist Chinese pouring over the border as so-called "volunteers," but they fought bravely and saved themselves and others (including Korean civilians) by a making strategic retreat.

The Marines who fought there are called "The Chosin Few" for their heroic action.

A good friend, Lewis Wilkinson, was wounded by machine gun fire and carried out of that trap by his buddies. He was one of the kindest, gentlest, most giving people I've met. He came home to farm and to work as a steelworker, one those men who erect the towering steel frames of buildings. As late as the 1980s, when I first met him, he still was having shrapnel removed.

He's gone now, but he lives in my memory, Veteran's Day and other days.
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