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:
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.
(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.
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.
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
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‚Äôs 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
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
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.