During a recent pilgrimage to the nation's capital, I made a point to visit the Korean War Monument. My Uncle Bud and my buddy Jim Leal served in Korea, and I wanted to see what had been erected to honor their service and their sacrifice.

Korean War Monument DC (Photo by Barry Richard)

As far as monuments go, the Korean War Monument does not disappoint. The display of 19 larger-than-life stainless steel figures of a platoon on patrol representing four branches of the service is breathtaking. It is accompanied by the Mural Wall, the United Nations Wall and the Pool of Remembrance. It is stunning.

But many Korean War veterans are not happy with the monument. Some wanted a wall similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that lists all of the names of those lost in that conflict.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial DC (Photo by Barry Richard)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial DC (Photo by Barry Richard)

Others complain that the Korean War Monument, which portrays the men on patrol wearing ponchos, is inaccurate. Jim tells me if an infantryman was wearing a poncho, there would be no way he could get his gun out if confronted by the enemy. "We'd be killed in a minute," he said.

Korean War Monument DC (Photo by Barry Richard)

Still, others suggest the troops depicted appear to be in retreat.

I couldn't wait to tell Jim where I had been and how impressed I was with the monument. He set me straight pretty quickly.

While a stunning piece of architecture, the Korean War Monument does not reflect the wishes of the men who fought "the forgotten war," and is inaccurate in its depiction of events.


Seems to me that if you are going to spend $5 million to honor the veterans of such a horrendous event you would at least try to get it right, no?

Actress Marilyn Monroe Visits Troops In Korean 1953 (Photo by Jim Leal)

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.