Korean War veteran reacts to Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting

"I didn't think this would ever happen."
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 15:22:34-04

MILWAUKEE -- After an unprecedented meeting between the leader of the free world and the North Korean Dictator, those who were there at the beginning of this feud are glad to see this chapter coming to a close.

The United States pulled out of the Korean War in 1953, though the war has never really come to an official close. Norbert Carter was there at the end of the war. Now, some 65 years later, he's surprised to see where United States-North Korean relations stand. 

"I didn't think this would ever happen," Carter said. "It would be great if it could be done. Look at the years that have gone by and nothing has been done." 

Carter has vivid memories of what he saw while in North Korea. Piles of dead bodies being buried in massive graves dug out by tanks with blades on the end. Starving children who he gave a chocolate bar to because it's all he had on him. It's memories like this that have stuck with him as he nears 90 years old. 

"They were living in mud shacks with straw roofs," Carter said. "Appeared to me there was nothing there. Everything was bare." 

Carter went back to South Korea in 2016 with other veterans. He was shocked to see how much it had changed. High rise buildings, established roads and homes, all signs of progress he felt he was a part of.

However, with the looming threat north of the 38th parallel, he felt there was still a menace to be dealt with. 

When he saw President Donald Trump shaking hands with North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong Un, he felt that menace was coming to an end. 

"[Kim's] grandfather, his father and now him," Carter said. "None of them could see eye to eye with South Korea. If that can be done, a lot of good things will be done. Time will tell."

Carter has gone back and forth about his service. He has had moments where he wondered if what they were doing made any impact at all. Now, with signs towards a denuclearized North Korea and less of a military presence by the United States, he thinks his service, and that of his fellow veterans, has been validated. 

"I think this is good for now," Carter said. "I feel good that talks are starting to get to the point of getting something done. From what I get, some of these [veterans] really feel good about it. They feel this can be done now and will continue. Hopefully, that's what will happen."