AUGUSTA — A state senator from Oxford is hoping to make July 27 the official day to remember the Korean War in Maine.

Sen. James Hamper, R-Oxford, said Tuesday he was sponsoring a joint resolution that would mark the anniversary of the war’s end each year in Maine.

The resolution doesn’t set up another state holiday, but it would require the governor to issue a proclamation each year urging people to observe the day with appropriate celebration and activity. This July will mark the 60th year since a treaty brought the armed conflict between North and South Korea to an end.

Hamper said he expects there may be some resistance to the measure as a previous effort to have an official Vietnam War Day for Maine was defeated by the argument that the state and federal government already set aside Veterans Day on Nov. 11 each year to honor veterans of all wars.

“I expect some push back,” Hamper said. “We had a similar battle in the 124th or the 125th Legislature and the argument was, ‘We already have a Veterans Day.'”

A constiuent asked him to submit the legislation, Hamper said.

“His reasoning was pretty simple — to honor the Korean War vets,” Hamper said.

Hamper said he agreed as Maine has a fairly sizable population of Korean War veterans, but that number was becoming smaller and smaller as they age and die.

About 42,000 Mainers served in the Korean War, about 12,000 of those were still alive, according to Peter Ogden with the state’s Bureau of Veterans’ Services. 

More than 36,000 Americans were killed in the war, which never officially ended. Fighting ceased when an armistice treaty was signed between the sides in 1953.

Sandwiched in time after World War II and before Vietnam, the war is often referred to as the “Forgotten War” or “the Unknown War.”

Hamper’s resolution will now move to the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee for further consideration.

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