Moore gets chance to experience history

A tour of duty by her grandfather a lifetime ago – into a war zone in 1950s Korea – is resulting in the trip of a lifetime for U of L student Megan Moore.

Moore, a third-year biological sciences student from Picture Butte, Alta., is leaving in mid June for Seoul, South Korea as part of an international program that will educate young people about the Korean War on the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

She is the only Albertan and one of few Canadians on the scholarship trip, which was open to people who are currently post-secondary family members of Korean War veterans.

Moore said she was excited to have the experience because she has the highest respect for the military and its veterans, and wishes to learn more about an activity that had such a profound effect on her family.

"I am very honoured to be chosen to attend this conference, because my knowledge of the Korean War isn't as broad as it should be," she says. "I wish I had spoken more with my grandfather about it, but he was a very private man who didn't generally discuss the topic, and he passed away when I was a young teenager."

Moore's paternal grandfather, Leading Seaman (LSEM1) John Moore, was a veteran of the Korean War and served on the HMCS Crusader battle ship (known as the Train Wrecker for its ability to successfully disable land-based supply trains) from November 16, 1951 until June 5, 1953.

Thankfully, a person who felt more at home on water than land, Moore's grandfather held the position of a "Stocker" in the engine room of the Crusader. He left military service after his Korean War experience, working in several B.C. packing houses and subsequently for Agriculture Canada until he retired. The elder Moore passed away in 2006, leaving behind a legacy of military tradition with his six children, and in the hearts of his numerous grandchildren.

Hosted and supported by the South Korean government's Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Moore will see locations of some of the key points in the conflict, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, including the now famous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and a memorial to fallen soldiers at Busan.

More than 26,000 Canadians volunteered to serve in the Korean War, and more than 500 perished. Canada's presence continues today through the United Nations peacekeeping process.

Moore is no stranger to military life – in addition to her grandfather, she has aunts, uncles and cousins who have served in various military capacities from World War II to Afghanistan – and, in fact, wishes to pursue a career of her own in the military following graduation.

"As a former member of the 11 Lethbridge Royal Canadian Air Cadets (from 2004 to 2011), I was able to travel, develop leadership skills and gain numerous other experiences. This has led me to the decision to join formally after university, and right now I am leaning toward a career in the medical services," she says.

Moore adds that anything that increases her knowledge of military history and other activities will only help her in the future.

"I am especially grateful to local Korean veteran Don Dahlke and members of the General Stewart Legion for their help and input as I was preparing for the trip. A lot of people still don't understand that the war between North Korea and South Korea is technically still going on, and that Canada plays a huge role in the peacekeeping process to this day. I hope I can help tell that story a bit more effectively once I get back."