Congressman Byrne reacts to POW deal with North Korea
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) —
Tuesday's developments between the U.S. and North Korea could lead to better relations between the two countries.
One major achievement may be the agreement to find and bring back the remains of American POW's or soldiers missing in action.
Both Kim Jong Un and President Trump signed an agreement for the recovery of the remains of American soldiers, as well as the immediate repatriation of those who have already been indentified.
Congressman Bradley Byrne says the Korean War was devastating, and for the families who never had closure, this agreement is necessary.
"We need to do everything to get those remains back. So, I was glad to see that that was an important part of the discussion, and it would be a show of good faith on the part of North Korea to work with us as the Vietnamese have worked with us over the last 20 years," said Alabama Congressman Bradley Byrne.
Walter Ballard, U.S. Army retired and a Korean War Veteran, lost one of his best friends in Korea. Ballard, who lives in Semmes, will never forget O.C. Clark, his high school buddy whose name is now etched in stone at Battleship Park and has been missing in action for more than 60 years.
"We played ball together, went up and down the hall, we might have dated the same girl. I think we both liked the same girl in high school. We were fairly good friends," said Ballard.
Finding the bodies of thousands may not be easy. More than 7,000 soldiers are unnaccounted for, and more than 5,000 are missing in action.
Ballard says U.S. soldiers were sometimes forced to bury their own in the cold hard winter ground.
"But they would dig a trench in the snow and ice, and they would cover them in snow, planning to come back and bury them in the ground when the Spring thaw comes. Some of them were washed away during flood conditions, the bodies washed way down the banks in high water," said Ballard.
Closure wont be made easy. "It had saddened me greatly that he didn't make it back," said Ballard.
After all this time, this summit gives so many the hope they've been waiting for.
"I often wondered you know he didn't get to come home to see children and grandchildren grow up," said Ballard.