For three years beginning in mid-1950, the United States committed millions of men and billions of dollars to an international effort that prevented the conquest of South Korea by the Communist regime to its north. That undertaking initially commanded broad support among the American people. In time, though, it became both a subject of major domestic political controversy and, even as it was still being fought, a matter of increasing public apathy. A conflict that produced some of the most dramatic and heroic episodes in U.S. military history and--after China intervened with its forces in late 1950--did much to set the course of Sino-American relations for the next two decades, eventually came to be thought of as the Forgotten War.
It would be more proper, of course, to see the conflict in Korea as one that has been simply neglected in American historical consciousness. For certainly it has not been and never will be forgotten by those who fought there, or by the families of the dead, the wounded and the missing, or by the hundreds of thousands of U.S. servicemen who subsequently were assigned to South Korea to help safeguard that country's security, an obligation that continues to this day.