The scars are remnants of a war Dale Long dismissed from memory.
The bayonet mark near his throat.
The indentation on his head from a mortar attack.
Then there was the mysterious shrapnel the surgeon found during a procedure for colon cancer.
Think the doctor was surprised?
Long was even moreso.
“I didn’t even know I had it in there,” he said. “It was a piece of steel I got 30 years ago.”
Thirty years ago...
The Korean War.
America’s forgotten war.
It took place between World War II and Vietnam.
We didn’t win it, we didn’t lose it and it ended in a stalemate that cost 36,516 American lives.
Six decades later the Korean peninsula remains a flashpoint instigated by North Korea’s calculating Stalinist regime.
“It’s like we didn’t do a thing there,” Long said. “But we had a rough time.”
Now an 81-year-old widower, he served in 1953 from January through September, primarily in the infantry.
Yet when the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice arrived July 27, he paid no attention to it or the televised scenes of North Korea’s orchestrated military celebration in Pyongyang.
A forgotten war, indeed, for Long.
Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on Bradenton.com.