LEHIGHTON -- Korean War veterans were celebrated on Tuesday for their service more than six decades ago.
The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the forgotten war, but on Tuesday, Korean War veterans were remembered at the American Legion post in Lehighton. On behalf of Senator Pat Toomey, 35 veterans from Carbon County, some still alive, others not with us, were awarded the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal.
"This is very important to Senator Toomey that we recognize all of our veterans and especially our Korean War veterans, who 65 years ago, brought freedom to South Korea, especially in the situation we face today, where we still have issues with the North Koreans," said Robert Desousa, a member of Sen. Toomey's staff.
Ron Rabenold of Lehighton accepted the medal for his father, who was unable to make the ceremony.
"It means a lot to my dad and our family because to have South Korea show us the gratitude of what these men sacrificed for them and the perils they went through. It's nice to be recognized for that," Rabenold said.
And it was a very special moment when Korean War veterans received their medals, a moment that brought back a lot of memories from their time overseas.
"It brings back memories. And I'm glad I lived long enough to enjoy it. And the medal is beautiful!" said Keith Bennyhoff.
"I learned that I'm glad to be an American, to be a free man," said Pasquale Coppola. "What more could I say? This is the greatest country in the world. I couldn't make it any better than what it is."
"It was just an experience being there and helping my country," said Bernard Mendez.
And while those experiences will last a lifetime, so will the memory of receiving these medals.