I first learned about Hoengsong and “Massacre Valley” when I read Stanley Sandler’s Korean War history, No Victors, No Vanquished in 2000, but it wasn’t until May 2001, when I had the chance to sit down with Oscar Cortez, when I learned more about “Massacre Valley” and what happened to elements of the 2nd Infantry Division.
When I started to write my Korean War novel War Remains in the fall of 2009, I remembered that interview I had with Oscar on our way to another Korean War battlefield, Chipyong-ni when he described the battle he was in north of Hoengseong in February 1951. That’s when I knew how my novel would begin and end and one of the battles which would figure prominently in the book. I wanted readers to know about this battle and to remember the men who lost their lives there.
This is another view of the valley and the monument which was dedicated to the United States Second Infantry Division (which is still stationed in South Korea). That’s another irony of this so-called “forgotten war.” One of the divisions which fought in the war, is still here and ready to fight.
And let’s not forget that there are still over 7,900 American service members from that war still listed as MIAs.
Of course, for the family members still waiting for their loved ones to come from that war, it has never been a forgotten war for them.
Three of my Facebook friends and their families are waiting for their loved ones to come home. One of those friends lost an uncle in this very same battle.
It’s been almost four years since I published this novel about the Korean War. I am proud of it and the lives it has touched.