By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Special Interest | Issue: November 2010
Staff members of the Circle Cinema on a Korean Era military jeep: (L to R): Terry Cearley, Frank Michaels, Marry Donnelly, Rick Ronketty, and Amy Carroll.
On Monday, November 29, Circle Cinema will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, also known as “The Forgotten War,” with a documentary film presentation, question and answer session with war veterans, and display of Korean Era military vehicles and uniforms. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
The Korean War (1950-1953) was based on conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces in Korea. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into Soviet (North Korean) and U.S. (South Korean) zones of occupation. “In 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. Under the leadership of Douglas MacArthur, U.S. forces helped South Korea push them back,” explains Rick Ronketty, event coordinator.
“We feel it is extremely important to honor the men and women who have served our country. Our veterans are the true patriots. So often we yell and scream, but never do anything,” says Rick. “Recently we honored World War II vets, and next year we will have a similar event for Vietnam. Now we are celebrating those who fought in a war that came on the heels of World War II and thus often gets overshadowed. Although the Korean War was never a ‘declared’ war, thousands of Americans laid their lives on the line.”
The two-part event at the theatre began in September, when they aired “Inchon Landing,” the first part of the PBS Series documentary “Korea: Forgotten War,” directed by Don Horan. On November 29, they will show the second part of the documentary, “Chosin Reservoir.”
When the film was first released in 1987, reviewer Drew Middleton of the New York Times wrote, “The viewer experiences the worst and the best of war; the confusion, the pain of losing friends, the haunting fate shared by all combat soldiers that you will not make it and the bitter determination to hold the enemy, killing as many as you can, as long as the column gets through.”
About 20 veterans from the Chosin Few, a Korea War veterans’ group, were on hand to answer questions at the first showing, and they will be returning in November. According to Rick, the audience included everyone from high school and college students to senior citizens. “The questions they asked varied greatly. A popular question from high school students was, ‘Were you scared?’ The Korean War is also known for how bitterly cold it was – often 30 or 40 degrees below Fahrenheit – and many of the adults asked what it was like enduring the cold. Another popular question was, ‘How old were you during the war?’ Most of them were teenagers; 25 was considered old for a soldier.”
The Korean Era military uniforms that will be displayed in the lobby are on loan from Keith Myers, who owns a vast collection of military uniforms. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view up close several Korean Era military vehicles outside the theatre.
The Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s independent and non-profit art-house movie theatre, showing independent, foreign and documentary films. Their mission is to use film to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the human experience, and create community among the viewers in the restored historic Circle Cinema.
The theatre is currently undergoing a major renovation project from the ground up. “At present we have one screen with 99 seats. We are building a large screen to seat 250, as well as another small screen,” explains Chuck Foxen, assistant theatre manager. “This will allow us to accommodate more free showings like the Korean War event.”
The Korean War 60th anniversary commemoration takes place Monday, November 29. The one-hour documentary will show at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. Each showing will be followed by a question and answer session with the war vets. The vehicles and uniforms will be on display throughout the day. Admission to the event is free, but donations are encouraged. Call (918) 585-3456 for more information.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.