Worldwide youth tribute to Korean vets
A 16-year-old Aucklander and her family are leading efforts to help youth discover New Zealand’s ‘‘forgotten war’’.
Sally Carkeek, sister Morgan and cousin Deborah Solomon are attending the second Korean War Veterans Youth Corps in Washington DC, from July 25 to 28.
Sally Carkeek says kids her age don’t know about the conflict that kicked off the cold war. President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at last year’s inaugural Washington event. The youth corps is all about preserving the legacies of those who fought in the 1950-1953 Korean War, educating future generations about the sacrifices made there, she says.
‘‘Our grandfather Lewis Murray Carkeek served as part of the United Nations K-Force effort in Korea,’’ Sally says.
Between 1950 and 1957, 4700 New Zealanders served in Korea – 45 died.
‘‘When they got back from the war they were slurred and called ‘boy scouts back from the summertime holidays’,’’ Sally remembers Lewis telling her.
‘‘But because he saw action in World War II, he could laugh it off,’’ she says.
Lewis, who died in 2012, was ‘‘a really caring, gentle man, a great spirit, who everyone looked up to’’.
He was the centre of our family, Sally says.
The Carkeek sisters and cousin Deborah are joining dozens of veterans’ families at the three-day convention, learning how to digitally preserve loved ones’ records.
Deborah attended the first conference and ‘‘wants to show the Kiwi perspective’’.
Last year a participant’s parent apologised because he didn’t realise countries other than the US fought in Korea, Deborah says.
‘‘This is kind of our way of honouring Lewis’ legacy. He cared about people and wanted to share his story,’’ Sally says.
Remembering granddad: Sally Carkeek says her war veteran grandfather Lewis Murray Carkeek was a great spirit.