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Tet and Korea, 50 years later

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By Donald Kirk

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia ― How quickly we forget. Memories, dates and events fade away, only to be revived on anniversaries. A lot of historical events are barely recalled.

I was in a country named "South" Vietnam 50 years ago when North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attacked almost every city and town at the opening of Tet, the Lunar New Year. The 50th anniversary of Tet 1968 has to be the topic of colorful reminiscences and guilt-dripping analyses about the American role in foreign wars, but how many remember two other events in the month of January 1968 that stand out in modern Korean history?

It was on January 21, 1968, that 31 North Korean commandoes staged their raid on the Blue House in a weird attempt at assassinating Park Chung-hee. They did come close, but in the end the raid was a colossal failure in which almost all of them were killed as were 26 South Koreans and four Americans.

Two days later, while the hunt was still on for the Blue House raiders, the North Koreans captured the American spy ship, the Pueblo, a reconverted merchant vessel, off the coast east of Wonsan.........

© The Korea Times