Forgotten No More: Pratt & Whitney Hosts Event Honoring Korean War Veterans
The simple act of saying "thank you" goes a long way for East Hartford's Jim Shelmerdine.
"You might see a tear go down. Not just me, but a lot of memories," Shelmerdine said inside the lobby of Pratt & Whitney's East Hartford, Connecticut, Hangar.
Shelmerdine fought in what has been called "The Forgotten War" – the Korean War.
"It's nice that we're being recognized," Sheldermine continued.
Pratt & Whitney hosted South Korean ambassador Ahn Ho-Young who has been on a mission to honor Korean War veterans across the United States. Working with Congressman John Larson's office, Connecticut veterans were invited to receive a medal of gratitude forged from recycled barbed wire once found in the demilitarized zone. Two men were former Pratt & Whitney employees.
"It's been an honor to me. It's been a long time since we've ever had anything that really gave us honor. Because I lost a lot of good friends over there," said William Yebram, a retired Pratt & Whitney employee who fought in the Korean War.
A colleague echoed Yebram's sentiments.
"There was a war but no one ever recognized it. This puts a little bit of shine on that," said Salvatore Malinguaggio, a former Pratt & Whitney employee.
From the UTC-4-Vets employee resource group greeting guests at the door to the moment the medal was respectfully placed around a proud serviceman's neck, two nations showed their gratitude. On this day, Shelmerdine believes he and his fellow veterans are forgotten – no more.
"Two words. At. Last," he said, his eyes welling up with tears.