Woman's mission to honor Korean War vets stops in South Dakota

Published: May. 29, 2018 at 4:09 PM CDT
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She's working to get recognition for the nearly 37,000 Americans who died during the Korean War.

Today she was in Pierre paying her respects to South Dakota's Korean War veterans, both living and dead, and we found her efforts are fueled by gratitude.

"Wow. So many...so many have died for me. For our freedom." It happens whenever Hannah Kim visits a Korean War memorial. An overwhelming sense of humility. "I call all Korean War veterans my grandpas because I tell them if you didn't fight in Korea I would not be here."

Kim was born in America but her family is from South Korea and that humble feeling she has comes from the notion that thousands of Americans would fight, and die, so that they and eventually she could live in freedom. "The least we can do is remember them."

And it's that humility and that gratitude that has Hannah Kim on a mission to all 50 states to visit Korean War memorials.

South Dakota's sits in the shadow of the state capitol and adjacent to Capitol Lake and contains the names of those who died in what is often called the forgotten war.

Kim knows South Dakota's Korean War story. "South Dakota suffered 160 casualties as well as 35 still unaccounted for."

But Kim is on a larger mission. In 2016, Congress approved a Korean War Wall of Remembrance to be built in Washington and contain the name of the nearly 37,000 Americans who died in the Korean War. But while Congress approved it...Congress hasn't funded it.

Hannah Kim is hoping what she is doing will spur lawmakers to find the funding. "The least we can do as a nation, as a grateful people, is to say you know what? We honor you individually."

You can find out more information about the National Wall of Remembrance project by clicking the link included with this story.