I’ve previously written about the Korean War MIA Project in this blog. It’s a great bunch of volunteers who are trying to help identify the remains of soldiers from the Korean War. It involves locating the current family members, doing DNA tests, and then seeing if any family of known MIA soldiers match a soldier in the database.
The project has been in existence since the early 1990s. They’ve identified about 200 soldiers to date. It all boils down to money. The project coordinators have been dipping into their own funds because no government agencies or outside organization seems to be interested in the project. Now the project has run up a huge debt.
Without an influx of donations and possible long term sponsors, the project will close down. In fact, it already has. The website has been reduced to a couple of pages. Gone is the soldier database as well as the memorial notes from loved ones and people who served with those missing in action.
Everyday I see “support our troops” bumper stickers. How can we support the current troops when we don’t give a damn about the ones who served previously–many of them not having a choice to serve or not because there was a draft? Think of all the mothers, wives, brothers, and others who lost their loved ones in America’s wars. Just in Korea, 8100 are missing in action. All those loved ones got the official notice, but they never got closure. Oh, they don’t have hope of their loved one being found alive, but they can never be sure of what really happened to them.
It may not seem like alot. But, think about if it were you. Perhaps you have a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. What if they went missing tomorrow? How would you feel? What if you got that letter or visit at the door? Maybe it’s your husband or daughter or the neighbors kid fresh out of high school who is serving.
I worked on this project for three months (not nearly the amount of time the project coordinators, Hal & Ted Barker put into it). In that time I was able to identify the family of two soldiers. It was so gratifying to know that my genealogy research skills might help someone else in this world.
In time all wounds heal. But, wouldn’t it be nice to give these families the last chapter of their loved one’s story? We all have the power to change this bit of history and do right by those families–at least for the soldiers of one war. Once a match is made, the family gets to hear the end of the story and they get to have a funeral if they chose. It seems like such a small, simple thing to do.
If you’d like to make a donation or know of a way to keep the project going, please visit the website:
Donate to the Korean War Project