Being well-adjusted to the 21st century, I Googled Chosin, yet I still didn't "get it." I was unable to understand how or why Chosin was important.
Shortly after my conversation with SSGT Kraus, I discovered the documentary made by Brain Iglesias from first-hand accounts of Marines who survived Chosin. Watching the documentary, I was speechless. After watching it a second time, I was humbled not only by the human spirit, but the Marine spirit. The "Esprit de Corps." The experiences recounted in the documentary were simultaneously amazing, intense, heartbreaking, and shocking. I was beginning to understand the importance of Chosin.
The Korean conflict (a declaration of war was never issued) began June 25th, 1950 when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea. By November 1950, in the frigid 25 below temperatures, 15,000 Soldiers and Marines were in position for battle at Chosin. They had not anticipated the 120,000 Chinese soldiers who had entered into the conflict on the North Korean side.
Hearing the survivors speak, their voices full of emotion as they remember what they lived through, and the names of those who didn't make it home, is not something one easily forgets. I could never find the words to properly portray the experiences of the men who where there, which is why this documentary is a beautiful and critical contribution to American history. Showing true perseverance, duty and honor, approximately 50% of the men fighting were casualties. Some had rifles (their ammo long since expended) strapped to their legs for splints. Out of the original 15,000 men, 3,000 were killed in action and another 6,000 wounded, and 12,000 sustained frostbite of varying degrees to their hands and feet.
The memories and experiences shared in this documentary are not toned down or censored in any way. There were many stories that left me absolutely speechless. Many were sufficiently graphic that I will wait before I share this program with my sons. But I guarantee you I will share it. I encourage you to see this powerful documentary and to share it with everyone you know.
Please visit www.frozenchosin.com for purchase and a preview of the 2010 GI Film Festival Winner "Chosin." It is well worth mentioning that a portion of the proceeds from each DVD purchased goes to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.