Veterans of the Korean War are set to be honored this weekend. Those who served from 1950 to 1953 spent time fighting to protect the Republic of Korea, now known as South Korea, from North Korea and Chinese Communist troops.
Out of the 50,000 Korean War veterans that still live in Missouri, one ABC 17 spoke with said he remembers everything just like it was yesterday.
“I told the gunner, aim over that direction over there and fire a burst, wait a little bit, and fire another burst. Well, the first burst went over there and that light disappeared, then the second one landed over there, they lit that line up like a Christmas tree and yeah, we were in bad shape, got to get moving,” said Larry Horstdaniel, Korean War veteran.
It’s been more than 60 years since Larry Horstdaniel returned home from the Korean War. Since then, he’s owned and operated his own barber shop, a place that also just celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Horstdaniel said, “There were three of us from here that wound up in Korea and it ended up we were eating in the same mess tent and didn’t know it.”
To honor the former sergeant, Governor Nixon stopped by for a haircut and to present Horstdaniel with a Korean War service medal.
He said he’s thankful for the honor, and that he’ll never forget the 3 years he spent overseas, being chased and fighting alongside those that fought for freedom.
“I arrived back here in May of 1953 and it ended in June 1953, so I tell everybody now, after the Chinese found out I wasn’t there, they quit; they chased me all over the place.”
Horstdaniel said he plans to keep the medal at home, safe and protected, just like he protected those in South Korea.
Governor Nixon said he visited the Korean War memorial in Seoul last year. There, more than 900 Missouri soldiers’ names are listed for fighting for South Korea’s freedom.