DALLAS — On Monday afternoon, Lieutenant General Richard E. Carey leaned his cheek on a shovel at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
"I'm about to cry," Carey said, as he looked down at a plot of dirt.
In that very spot, a 12-foot memorial with portraits and stories will be built to honor those who fought in the 1950 Battle of Lake Jangjin, a pivotal moment in the Korean War.
General Carey was there as a 21-year-old platoon leader and battalion intelligence officer.
"It was a very tough battle," he said.
He remembers it being extremely cold, and remembers all the soldiers lost.
On Nov. 27, 1950, Chinese forces attacked at the Jangjin Reservoir in Korea. United States forces fought against more than 100,000 Chinese soldiers until Dec. 13, 1950. Temperatures were as low as -36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Those who fought in the Battle of Lake Jangjin are often known as the "Chosin Few". "Chosin" was derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the word.
General Carey said, "The guys that I knew, most of them aren't here anymore. I'm one of the few survivors of those people. I'm lucky. The good Lord has taken care of me."
He said for the last 20 years, he's wanted a memorial placed at DFW National Cemetery for the Korean War soldiers in that battle.
"It took 20 years to put it all together, but we got it done," said General Carey.
Sung Lae Hong with the Consular Office of the Republic of Korea in Dallas attended the event on Monday.
In a statement, Hong wrote, "Jangjin Reservoir Battle was not only one of the most brutal modern battles in history but also one of the most heroic."
He continues to say, "We are here today to remember that day. Today, we memorialize the heroic fighting spirits of those brave soldiers. And today, we express our deepest gratitude and respect for their dedication and sacrifice."
The groundbreaking on Monday also marked General Carey's 94th birthday. He was surprised at the ceremony with a cake and presents.
He said, "Oh, this is the best way in the world to celebrate by seeing this."