OYSTER BAY - Today was a tranquil Saturday for Donald Zoeller and his wife in Oyster Bay. But exactly 60 years ago, Zoeller was celebrating the end of the Korean War.
Now 83 years old, Zoeller served in the war from 1952-53, when he was just 22. He was among the hundreds of thousands of troops who were sent over to aid South Korea after it was invaded by North Korea's communist army.
When he got to Korea, Zoeller says he was close to the front lines, then called the "main line of resistance."
"For us to be any value, we had to be right on it, so we could fire on the enemy directly," he recalls. During his 13 months there, Zoeller says he had several close calls with snipers and bombs, although he's glad he was able to serve.
"We needed to stand up and we needed it to stop," he says. "They were trying to put communism all over the globe."
Many have called the Korean War the "forgotten war," but Zoeller says he'll always remember the time he served. Tomorrow, he and his wife will join others for a ceremony at the Korean War Memorial in Massapequa Park.
More than 36,000 U.S. troops died and more than 100,000 were wounded in the three-year conflict.