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Revisit Program

In 1975 (the 25th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War), the Republic of Korea's government began the "Revisit Korea " program as a means to say thank you to all veterans of the Korean War. Each year, the ROK government appropriates a given amount of money for this special program, and the Korean Veterans Association in Seoul administers it. Korean War veterans selected for the Revisit Korea program are required to make and pay for their own transportation to a designated international airport in the States, and pay their own airline fare to Korea . The remainder of the trip is free, including transportation in Korea , lodging, and food. Working closely with Korean tourism groups, Korea's war veterans show America's war veterans (and veterans of other Allied nations who participated in the Korean War) the end result of the bloody war that took place in Korea in 1950 to 1953. Revisit Korea guests are bussed to museums and tourist sites in and near Seoul, treated to special dinners and parties, and generally are also bussed to Panmunjom.  Because the tourism industry generates millions upon millions of dollars each year in Korea, the revisit program is a great boon to the Korean airlines, as well as to the Korean economy. According to Warren Wiedhahn, Chairman of the Revisit Program, in 2002 the KWVA was informed that the Korean government was going to sponsor the popular Revisit Korea tours for at least two more years. Mr. Wiedhahn's address is 4600 Duke Street, #420, Alexandria, VA 22304; phone 703-212-0695; fax 703-212-8567. The following information about the program that Wiedhahn chairs comes from The Graybeards magazine:

Eligibility Requirements

Veteran must be a Korean War veteran or war correspondent from one of the 21 nations which came to the assistance of South Korea between June 25, 1950 and July 27, 1953. Immediate family members of those killed in action in the Korean War, as well as an immediate descendant, are eligible for the Revisit Program.

Revisit Privileges

(a) Hotel accommodations (2 persons per room), meals, tours, and transportation while in Korea for 6 days and 5 nights

(b) Tour of Seoul and its vicinity: itinerary includes visits of Panmunjom, North Korean Invasion Tunnels, Korean War Memorial Monument, National Cemetery, National Museum, Korean Folk Village, Korean War Museum, plus other cultural/industrial facilities and activities in the Seoul area. Other tours of battle sites and/or Inchon may be made through the local tour guide.

(c) A special reception and dinner hosted by the President of the Korean Veterans Association (KVA) during which the Korean War Medal and Certificate of Ambassador for Peace will be awarded to each veteran who has not received it before.

Miscellaneous Information

The KVA Revisit Program privileges are provided for scheduled groups only. Participants are required to be in possession of a valid passport. KVA ( Seoul ) is not responsible for any loss of, or damage to personal or other items, medical expenses, injuries, or loss of life due to any accident of whatever nature during the revisits. Trip insurance is available and recommended. The cost of the airline ticket must be borne by each individual visitor who will fly with the group. Applications will be received/accepted on a "First-come, First-served" basis. Those desiring to use frequent flier miles will be required to pay an administrative processing fee.

Veterans' Testimonies

Most members of the Korean War Veterans Association who have the opportunity to go on one of the KVA Revisit programs come back from the trip impressed with the changes they see in South Korea. While the airplane is heading to Seoul, they reflect back on the war-torn country they left behind when they returned to the States after their tour of duty in Korea during the years 1950 to 1953. Following are comments that were made by Revisit Program participants to the Korean War Educator:

Louis Schneider
, 7451 Hidden Hills Dr. , Spring Hill , FL 34606:

"I made the revisit trip June of 1997, and I must say it was more than I expected. I was treated like royalty by everyone, and the accommodations were first class. All the veterans I met had the same experience also. I served in Korea from Nov 1951 to April 1953. I served with the 44th Ord depot in Uijongbu, and later was transferred to the 74th Ord Battalion Headquarters in Seoul . The last several months, our outfit was moved to Ascom City at the main army depot.

During the revisit, I was very impressed with the greetings received from Korean people as we walked down the streets of Seoul , thanking us for what we had done for them. I never questioned our purpose being in Korea , but it made me feel good that the sacrifices made there were greatly appreciated. Revisiting Korea had always been a dream that I never thought would be fulfilled, but I am thankful to all that made it possible."

Mike Glazzy
, 3361 Williams Road , San Jose , CA 95117-2579:

"At the time of my discharge, I said I would never go back to Korea , never sign up for an old Marine’s revisit, that I didn't want to see those barren mountains again or feel the heat or hear the cold wind out of Siberia, but I was destined to return.

On that fateful June 23rd, 1950 weekend at the Marine Base Quantico Virginia, I assumed the night duty at the base communication center. In the early morning hours of Sunday June 25th, the communication line from the Pentagon Building illuminated. I was surprised by this unusual traffic, the urgent message being, " South Korea has been invaded" and at that time, did not realize this privileged information would result later in my orders to Choson, "land of the morning calm." My fate was set to serve with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron 3, Pohang, Korea 1951-1952, as a radar technician.

But now, 50 years later I returned with thousands of Korean veterans from 21 nations to commemorate the signing of the July 27, 1953 armistice, ending 37 months of brutal fighting up and down the 525-mile long peninsula. This was our final hurrah. There are no more 50th anniversaries. For almost all, a 75th is out of the question!

As the boys of the early 1950 era, now white haired and tempered by age, received their final tribute at the "Salute to Heroes" banquet in Seoul, the string of 50th anniversary commemorations which began with: the observance of the unexpected invasion by the North Korean Peoples Army across the 38th parallel, the 8th Army's stand at the Pusan Perimeter, X Corps Inchon invasion, Marines at the Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir and the Iron Triangle, has finally run its course. From this point on, there probably will be only memories; no more parades; few, if any tributes.

From around the world, as far away as Australia, Belgium, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Italy, New Zealand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, thousands of veterans from all military branches came to this final observance and to remember their fallen buddies. And, there were others from Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, and Thailand who also joined in the camaraderie. You could tell who they were by their caps, uniforms, badges, and of course, by their native language. Some still groomed their wartime handlebar mustaches!

Disembarking Korean Air Flight 017 at the new Inchon International Airport after eleven hours at 37,000 feet, a sense of nostalgia overcomes one's being. Your mind drifts back to what was and what is, as we rode to our Sofitel Ambassador Hotel in Seoul. The ravages of war have been replaced with a lush landscape of trees, disguising ridgelines of battle, and planted along heavily traveled streets. High-rise residential buildings, as far as the eye can see, raise 25 stories from the base of each mountain.

Korean War veterans, we cannot escape history! We, as young men, stepped forward with our invincibility of youth to defend an ancient nation against communist aggression. In defense of freedom, we won the first battle of the "cold war" and provided the opportunity for South Korea to become an economic power in Asia. Let us, the United States, maintain this unique bond we have with the Korean people until North and South Korea become united as one nation and experience the freedoms we have in America. Semper Fidelis, "Always Faithful."

Al Ratner, 7233 Lugano Dr., Boynton Beach, FL 33437-6084:
I formerly served in the 45th Division, 180th Regiment.  I had the opportunity to participate in the KWV's Revisit Program in 1996.  We boarded Korean Air at 11 a.m. for 14 hours non-stop to Seoul.  We flew north over Canada and Alaska, and north of the Aleutian Islands and then over to Japan and on to Seoul, arriving at 5 p.m.  We were put in the Hotel Sofitel Ambassador, a very nice hotel.  We went on a bus for Panmunjom (Camp Bonifas), where we had a briefing and tour of all non-restricted areas.  We were taken inside the building where the cease fire was signed, and allowed to sit at the table that separates North and South Korea.  We were on two buses.  The older Koreans were very glad to see Korean War veterans.  Every Korean War veteran should at one time take a revisit trip.  We also toured Inchon Landing Operations Hall. 

Korea War veterans hosted a reception for American Korean War veterans and veterans from other countries who participated in the Korean War.  The reception and dinner was held in the Hotel Lotte.  All Korean War veterans were warmly received, and all veterans were given a Korean War veterans medal and a certificate of "Ambassador of Peace", as well as a bracelet printed in English and Korean. 

When I was in Seoiul during the war, Seoul had nothing.  Today, Seoul is like any big city in the USA.  The Han River from Seoiul to Panmunjom about 25 miles is fenced with barbed wire on top and there are guard posts every few hundred feet.  The banks of the river are also mined from the fence to the river. 

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