Korean War veteran reacts to soldier remains returning to U.S.

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On the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice signing, President Donald Trump announced the remains of 55 soldiers killed in the Korean War are on their way home.

It was an agreement made between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic summit.

The remains of an estimated 5,300 Americans have yet to return home. According to the Minnesota Military Museum at least 42 Minnesotans died in the Korean War and more are unaccounted for. 

“We were called killers that’s what we were supposed to do kill the enemy, we said, ‘We’re not killers we're lovers,’” said Harry Burke, a Korean War veteran.

Burke of Bloomington, Minn. enlisted with the Marines when he was 19 years old and then fought on the front lines in North Korea. By the time he was 20, Burke was injured by a hand grenade. Dozens more from his company were killed or debilitated by frigid subzero temperatures. 

“Only 83 of us were able to walk away,” said Burke. “The sad part of is we left about 30 of our bodies up there, up on the hill.”

Since then about half of those long lost infantrymen have been identified, but Burke wonders if any more of their remains could be arriving from North Korea. The boxes carrying the 55 remains were greeted by a ceremony in South Korea. From there they will head to Hawaii for testing. 

While many celebrate the remains coming back, including President Donald Trump, others are critical of dead soldiers being used as bargaining chips. 

California Representative Mimi Walters tweeted, “This is step in the right direction, but we must remember that we are dealing with a ruthless regime that still poses a threat to our nation.”

“The North Koreans you can’t trust them at all,” said Burke. “They cheat every angle you can imagine.”

As the president of The Chosin Few, which is an organization that reunites survivors of The Battle of Chosin, 89-year-old Burke is just thankful for a chance to share the history that had a huge impact on his life. 

“It’s something that young life - you never forget it, it’s always with you,” said Burke.