BENNINGTON - Veterans of the Korean War and their families gathered at the Vermont Veterans' Home in Bennington on Sunday to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the war, which occurred on July 27, 1953. Each veteran in attendance of the conflict that has been called "The Forgotten War" was honored with a medal and a certificate signed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Department of Defense also presented the home with a plaque commemorating the event and honored those who served.
The event also featured several guest speakers, including Sam Haskins, veteran policy advisor to Vermont Senator Bernard Sanders, Vermont Veterans' Home administrators Melissa Jackson and Col. Allan M. Faxon Jr., and Joseph Krawczyk, president of the VVH Board of Trustees.
Haskins, who had a brother who served in Korea, expressed regret on behalf of Senator Sanders, who could not attend the event. He read aloud a letter from Sanders, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs. In the letter, Sanders noted that 92 Vermont residents died during the war in Korea, and he honored them, as well as those who came home. Col. Faxon paid tribute to the veteran's in attendance, most of who lived in the home, saying, "When I look out at you, I see the living history of one of our most brutal and bloody wars."
Each veteran was then individually honored as they were presented their medals and certificates. After the ceremony, the veterans and their families were treated to punch and appetizers outside the hall.
The Vermont Veterans' Home, which was founded in 1884, housed 127 veterans as of July, many of whom are disabled or are currently undergoing medical treatment. The facility made headlines earlier this year when the administration asked lawmakers to make up the home's $3.5 million budget deficit. Personnel costs make up 80 percent of the home's expenses.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB