LEWIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An armistice was signed in 1953 between North Korea and the US, but, almost 70 years later, thousands of American troops remain in South Korea because there’s never been a peace treaty to end the war.
Those armistice talks, years ago, were witnessed by a “hometown hero” from the Wabash Valley. These events are something he said he remembers vividly.
In his Hoosier Homestead home, Elmer LaDue, 90, looked back on the tension during the negotiations between American and the North Korean leaders.
“A lot of disappointments in how it went, a lot of anxiety a lot of strong language,” LaDue said.
LaDue was in the US Army and his job was to help communicate messages coming from the
negotiations at the 38th Parallel. For months, the two sides tried to hammer out an agreement
to stop the brutal fighting on the Korean peninsula.
At times, LaDue said he wished he could have stepped in and participated in the talks firsthand.
After a few months, his role changed to that of helping returning American prisoners of war who were part of a POW exchange with the North. He said the US treated the North Korean prisoners well, but the North Koreans did not do the same for the American prisoners.
“They were not in good shape, many of them limped back on a stretcher they looked real bad,” Ladue said.
After the war, LaDue returned to Indiana and finished his education at Indiana State University. He then worked for decades in the placement office at ISU.
Back in the 1950s, LaDue met and married a music teacher married Martha and the two raised four children. It is a family that continues to grow with with grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Martha is a pianist and Elmer is a singer. The two have performed throughout the country, mainly at church venues.
Elmer and Martha said they love their music, their family, their country and God and that it is a combination that has worked well throughout their 65 years of marriage.