from Ralph Smith to General Alter
Date: Sun, 11 May 2003 02:18:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: ralph smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Reunion DMZ 2003
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Dear Consul General Alter:
Thank you for your reply to Senator Cornyn. Your contact with the
Secretariat, UNCMAC, Seoul was appreciated. My response is to your office because LTC Kurt L. Taylor did not include his email or phone numbers.
If all we can hope for now are armistice orientation tours, then I would also like the email of Ms. Lee C. Ferguson.
As a member of OPHSA (Outpost Harry Survivors Association), my concern now (after 50 years) is that more needs to be done to bring about a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. To do this, I believe that an all out effort to open up the DMZ to all veterans of the war so we could meet one another and visit the old battle sites would result in some positive moves to bring the two Koreas together.
LTC Taylor suggested that I contact the military attaches fromn China and S. Korea at their embassies here in the U.S. and N. Korea through their UN delegation in New York.
It seems to me that the importance of any move such as Reunion DMZ 2003 needs to start with your office. You are in Seoul at the embassy level, and would have greater influence then myself as an individual. Do those of us in OPHSA (through our officers) need to make a specific request to organize a gathering of interested veterans on OP Harry or any other battle site? We are in our 70s, and there aren't too many years left. If all the embassies of the countries involved would begin the process of opening up the DMZ to veterans on some kind of regular and timely basis, who knows what might result.
I want to let LTC Taylor know that I strongly differ with him that veterans visiting the DMZ would "interrupt or impede ongoing armistice operations" or that veterans in the DMZ "could even provide a possible pretext for N. Korean provocations."
I plan to follow through on seeking to visit as many of the DMZ orientation programs in as many Divisions as possible. I hope to live to see the day when there is no DMZ because of the vision of a free Korea. Please work on this vision and help me figure out a way to let us veterans lead in the effort.
Blessings, Chaplain (COL) Ralph L. Smith, AUS, (Ret.),
Service as a 2d Lt in Co. C and Hqs. Co., 23rd Inf. Regt., 2nd Inf. Div., 1953