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Tell America

The phrase "Tell America" was first used by Stan Hadden, editor of The Graybeards, on the front page of the newsletter (Vol. 6, No. 4) in April of 1991. The headline read, "Now Let’s Raise Money to Tell America about the Korean War!" The text below the headline read, "Plain old common sense tells us that the only way to really get the attention of American news media and the ordinary people is through two absolutely essential things: large membership, and a large vocal public opinion. We can get those two things by building a special fund in our KWVA treasury for TELLING AMERICA ABOUT THE KOREAN WAR. We can do it by searching for many more members through ads placed in, for instance, other veteran’s groups magazines. We will try other ideas, too. We will try to raise money to pay for commercial TV spots telling America about the Korean War. We will try to raise money to pay for telling your story on TV to America."

As of that issue of Graybeards, the KWVA Request for Donations form changed to include options for using members’ donated dollars. The options offered were: donations to the national Memorial Fund and donations to "Tell America about the Korean War" In following issues of The Graybeards, members sent in letters of support for the "Tell America" idea. An example of such letters is the following, written by Richard A. Blanc of Cleveland, Ohio:

"Stan: I feel the Korea War Vets has been short changed from the word ‘Go.’ He’s been forgotten from President Bush all the way down to the media. They all forget that he fought one hell of a hard, bitter war. He not only had to fight the North Koreans and the Chinese, he had to fight the heat, cold, rain, snow and disease. He had no parades or hoopla, not even a thank you. The Korean War was not taught in school. My kids never heard of Korea. Our war has been over since July ’53 and we still have not got our memorial. I have yet to see a movie or TV star do anything for us. The only movie star I know of that served in Korea was James Garner and even he didn’t do anything for our Memorial. There were almost as many killed and wounded in 3 years in Korea as there were in Viet Nam in 11 years and yet the Korean vet has been the forgotten one. Another thing that burns me up is the fact that Korea was a ‘Police Action.’ We sure got a lot of police killed, wounded and missing in action. Some deal, eh? This letter may not get published but at least I got it off my chest."

The June 1991 issue of Graybeards explained that Tell America was more than telling kids about combat and hardships. On page 16 of that issue, Stan Hadden told Graybeards readers that Tell America was the new challenge for individual veterans and the KWVA as an organization. "We don’t mean just tell the kids about combat and hardships," he said. Here’s a sample of what can be done with the funds sent by you: Buy time on TV, radio, and print media. Educate Americans, especially our young people so they will know that what you did in the Korean War affects the entire world today…how it impacted upon the fall of Communism in Russia and China. Tell young Americans how political decisions have affected their chances for jobs and homes and good futures by failing to properly manage events that resulted from the sacrifices of the Korean War. Tell America how the Korean War was really the last time America fought in the sincere belief that the U.S.A. was saving freedom and liberty."

The article went on to say: "DO YOU KNOW THESE FACTS?"

- 45 PERCENT OF Americans are too young to remember the Korean War firsthand

- Only 36 percent of our college students can identify which side we were on in the Korean War

- Our students at all levels will not be able to understand the meaning of the recent Gulf War unless they first are told why the Korean War happened and that it did happen!

- Television programming today is directed at age groups between 15 and 35…the Americans who don’t know about the Korean War…the Americans who will be voting tomorrow without knowing the real values of history.

- Only 13 percent of Americans under age 30 watch or read the news of America or the world. That is a national disgrace.

And you are now in the position of doing something just as important as what you did in 1950-1953. Tell America about the Korean War and how it changed the world we live in today and tomorrow!"

The September 1993 Graybeards (page 28) carried the headline, "Tell America Got a Big Boost." The text below it said, "The Korean War Veterans Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. gave a big boost to our TELL AMERICA program when they sent their donations of one thousand dollars last July. That hard-working, dedicated group conceived, planned, raised the money for, and built their own state Memorial for the Korean War (see page 30 of April 1993 Graybeards). We owe big thanks to William "Red" Mason who led the project, and his able aide Louis M. Pelosi." Other "Tell America" donations came from individual KWVA members living from one coast to the other coast.

There were other individual efforts beyond cash donations to Tell America, too. In the Bronx, Larry Hochfeld published an identical notice in the Queens Ledger, Glendale Register, Jackson Heights News, and the Long Island City Journal. The notice reached out to "all veterans in uniform in Korea September 3, 1945-June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953," telling them about the existence of the Korean War Veterans Association and issuing an invitation to join. In Oakland City, Indiana, Dolly Young made a red, white and blue afghan expressly for the purpose of raffling it off so the proceeds could go into the Tell America fund.

By 1993, KWVA president Dick Adams had appointed Emmett Benjamin as the Tell America committee Chairman. Benjamin, in turn, told those in attendance at the General Business Meeting on July 26, 1993, the purpose of the Tell America campaign, asking any members with ideas to mail them to him. "Tell America" began to take many forms—everything from speaking engagements before civic groups and in schools, to public appearances on television and the selling of Korean War-related video tapes.

The Onus is On KWVA Chapters
Dick Predmore of Texas doesn't want to hear any member of the KWVA complain about the lack of Tell America programs across the nation.  In a message to the members of the KWVA Ad Hoc Yahoo Group in March of 2004, Dick admonished:

"Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has been noted on Ad-hoc that the "Tell America" Program is dead or dying.  If that is the case then please be advised to get off your backside.  Only YOU can Tell America.  YOU have the first hand knowledge. YOU have the smell of Korea in your brain. YOU have the Pain of Korea in your body, and only YOU can truly tell anyone about Korea.
The onus lies with every Chapter, to go to the schools and churches and bear witness to what you saw, what you accomplished, and the state of the Nation that you helped create, by affording it to live in FREEDOM. 
YOU have that story to tell.   No one else!  
Here in Texas the Gen. Walton H Walker Chapter. D/FW has a program in effect, lead by Larry Kinard, Education Chairman.
Last year we spoke with hundreds of students and teachers. April 2 we will be speaking with about 100 middle School students and teachers, from Mansfield Tx.  for about 90 minutes.  Then on April 13 - 14 we hold 4 Classes each day starting at 7:30 until 4:00. in Arlington.
Many of us show up in uniform, we have a static display, a 10 minute video, one or two speakers, a table of remembrance for the POW-MIA.  and a Q&A session where anyone can answer questions.  There are more than we have time for.  That is why we are always asked to return. 
This is the easiest and most fun thing to do!  Kids and Teachers will write you personal letters that you will cherish.    We preach "Freedom Is not Free"
As I am  President of the Dept of Texas, and Larry Kinard is my 2nd VP.  We will be spreading the "Tell America" program through out the state.   Anyone wishing advise or aid in this project, contact me.   This is a program close to Larry's heart and he would be happy to render any assistance to promote it.
How about it Guys?  TELL AMERICA, can only come from                         YOU!!!!
Click on the website under my name and when the site comes up.  See Photo on the left column. Click on Photo
The photo page will come up and at the top you will see Mansfield Summit HS   Click on that and a photo of us at the school with our Table of Remembrance.  Click on the picture and it will enlarge.    Left to right are Mike Doyle, Marv Dunn, Bill MacSwain, Larry Kinard, Dick Predmore, and Roy Hill.
Dick Predmore 
   Check website

Past Tell America Programs

Richard Coate Tells America
KWVA member Richard Coate has been "telling America" about the Korean War for a long, long time. Coate wrote to Life magazine in May of 1952, using the phrase, "the forgotten war of Korea" in his correspondence. Many years later, his first editorial on the subject was published in The Phoenix, a prize-winning Broklyn Heights, New York, newspaper in February of 1990. The banner heading of the editorial read, "Why We Need to Write the Korean War Veteran Back into History." Coate told the Korean War Educator, "That editorial was the first of a long series of articles I wrote, some of which were included in the pro bono press packets which targeted some of the more powerful and prestigious newspapers and magazines throughout the nation." Coate said that his own campaign in which he solicited the help of newspaper and magazine editors to 'tell America about the Korean War' preceded Stan Hadden's coined phrase "Tell America" by almost a year and a half. Hadden said that he is happy to give Coate credit for his efforts. "He and I worked long, hard hours together," Hadden said. Coate believes that his "write the Korean War veteran back into history" campaign was the inspiration for Hadden's Tell America campaign. "Actually," said Hadden, "I don't remember where the phrase came from --- except in my writing somewhere for the Graybeards it seemed to fit the occasion. In our reunions the phrase 'tell America about the Korean War' was common talk among all."

While the Korean War was going strong, Coate was serving in Korea with the U.S. Army in Company E, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He had stopped to take a break when a photographer snapped a picture of him that was to become a widely-recognized silhouette of a Korean War soldier. Coate's silhouette has appeared on the cover of reunion books, in newspapers and magazines, on posters, in press packets, and on Internet websites. A poster-sized enlargement of the photo was even prominently displayed at the Truman Library exhibition, "The Korean War: Containment in Asia," from October 19, 1990 to September 30, 1991.

KWVA Chapter 137 Tells America
On December 4, 2002, the members of KWVA Chapter 137 of Youngstown, Ohio gave a Tell America program at Matthews High School. There were 52 senior students present, eight of which had grandparents who were Korean War veterans. Among the veterans who gave the program were Bob Donelson, Pete Pizlulo, John Pariza, Joann Onstott, Chuck Stepan, Bob Markowitz, Rocky Anobile, and Bob Brothers. The veterans read poetry, discussed the war, and shared some of their memories with the students.

Gen. Walton Walker Chapter Tells America
Dick Predmore of Texas tells the Korean War Educator that, "I am proud to say that the General Walton H Walker Chapter in the Dallas/Ft Worth area is engaged in a progressing program with the school systems in this area. Last year, which was our first year, we were able to hold classes for over 2,000 students. We have held classes, as many as six in one day, for a couple days straight. Each time we receive rave reviews and hundreds of letters from students. For each class, we have many chapter members (in uniform)--as many as 15 in attendance. While not all speak, we answer questions and have a nice static display. We always open with a 10-minute video on the Korean War. This year looks to be even more exciting. "

(Click the picture for a larger view)

New York Chapter #91 Tells America
Members of New York Chapter #91, KWVA, speak to cadets at West Point Military Academy about their experiences in the war.  According to Irving Breitbart, chapter president, KWVA members from Chapter 91, Eagle Chapter (Rockland) and Central Long Island Chapters participate in this event annually.  Pictured are veterans who spoke before the Year 2002 class of cadets.  Breitbart is pictured at the far left, second row, and there are six other members of Chapter #91 in the photograph.

Veteran's Viewpoint Tells America
Sometimes the KWVA’s "Tell America" program reaches beyond the classroom, too. For instance, on April 19, 2000, high school age camera operators, engineers, and director created a "Veteran’s Viewpoint" cable access program that features six Korean War combat veterans. The program was in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Korean War. There were 12 Army, Marine Corps and Navy Korean War veterans present in the studio, all of whom had been in Korea for some time during 1950 to 1953. The program was then televised in the New Jersey area during the month of June 2000. Among the veterans featured on the program were: John "Bud" Clark, James Major, Joseph Baptista, George Ferguson, Robert Yancy, Russell Street, and William McPeak.

More examples of Tell America will be posted here as they arrive from the chapters who were involved with the program in their local communities.

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