Vet awarded medals for fighting Korean War - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vet awarded medals for fighting Korean War

April 7, 2004

Albany- L.C. Harden is a veteran of a war that some say has been forgotten. But not by him.

"From Feb. 9 through the 12th, I remember that the most," Harden said. "That sticks in my mind because we fired three days night and day."

For the first time, he's being thanked for his work in the Korean War. He joined the Army when he was 17 years old to help his mother make ends meet and to serve his country.

"Everything I did, it was in honor to protect, and that's why when I volunteered and went in, I went in to go to Korea."

Harden spent 18 months in the war in 1953 and 1954. He ran the mess hall by day and shot artillery at night.

"From about 9 until about 12:30 I was on the gun. I got about four hours sleep a night."

Fifty years after he did the work, he's getting the medals he earned, including a Korean Service medal with a Bronze Service Star for helping wounded men in battle, a National Defense Service medal and a United Nations medal. It will be the only memorabilia he has since his photos and souvenirs from the war were destroyed years ago in a house fire.

"At the time of his discharge, it just did not happen," said U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop (D) Georgia, about Harden not receiving his medals until five decades later. "Of course, back in the 1950's during the Korean conflict and the end of the Korean conflict, African-American's experienced some bit of discrimination in our military. It was just in the transition of the integration of the armed services."

"It was kind of sad but, if I had to do it over again, I would go back to serving my country," Harden said. "Because this is my home."

After all this time, Harden now knows that his work will be remembered and his fight for freedom will never be forgotten.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you very much," he said emotionally during Wednesday's ceremony.

posted at 10:15 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com