A Young Widow, Donna Reem

Donna Reem was married to Robert Reem, Medal of Honor recipient, who was killed in South Korea in1950. The following describes South Korea's program for fallen American servicemen during the Korean conflict.

The South Korean government in 2015 established the Revisit Korea Program For Families of Korean War MIA/KIA Servicemen, This program's purpose is to convey the deep gratitude of the Korean people to the families of all the American fallen heroes of the Korean War, both Killed in Action (KIA) and Missing in Action (MIA). It is also an opportunity for the families of these fallen heroes to honor their loved ones and to represent their sacrifice to the people of South Korea. It is the hope of this program that the families' personal sacrifices and deep sense of loss may be eased by witnessing how the people of South Korea truly appreciate and enjoy the peace and prosperity made possible by their loved ones.

Wendy Looker, Robert Reem's second cousin, accepted the annual invitation and will be travelling to South Korea in April 2018. Following are the acceptance of the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman and Wendy's letter to the South Koreans.

Donna Reem accepted the Medal of Honor and following words from President Harry S Truman:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
for service as set forth in the following CITATION: 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Commander in Company H, Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Chinhung-ni, Korea, on November 6, 1950. Grimly determined to dislodge a group of heavy enemy infantry units occupying well-concealed and strongly fortified positions on commanding ground overlooking unprotected terrain, Second Lieutenant Reem moved slowly forward up the side of the ridge with his platoon in the face of a veritable hail of shattering hostile machine-gun, grenade and rifle fire. Three times repulsed by a resolute enemy force in achieving his objective, and pinned down by the continuing fury of hostile fire, he rallied and regrouped the heroic men in his depleted and disorganized platoon in preparation for a fourth attack Issuing last-minute orders to his non-commissioned officers when an enemy grenade landed in a depression of rocky ground in which the group was standing. Second Lieutenant Reem unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and, springing upon the deadly missile, absorbed the full impact of the explosion in his own body, thus protecting others from serious injury and possible death, Stout-hearted and indomitable, he readily yielded his own chance of survival that his subordinate leaders might live. Decisiveness and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Second Lieutenant Reem and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
                                                                     Robert Reem
Wendy Looker's letter to South Korea

I was yet unborn as of his death and medal presentation. I was barely new to this earth as his bodily remains were exhumed from Korea, returned to United States to be re-interned at Arlington Cemetery with honors.

How could these souls passing in the night so profoundly affect one another? I can only speak on my behalf. I grew up spending at least one day a week in the living room of my Great Grandparents Harvey and Sarah Reem. They were well known and respected in the county where their ancestors founded several towns. Gentle, quiet, avid historian researcher and accomplished writer, Harvey was the most senior patriarch of four proud generations of Harvey's, bearing his name. Upon noticing the interest of his grandson to serve in the Marines and ultimately acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy, Harvey Sr. put into pen his well versed and respected letters of recommendation for Robert Dale Reem. Would it have been his involvement, his support, his urging that made this elderly gentleman in my presence now quiet?pensive? sad? 

Very little was said other than the most basic of details of Robert's sacrifice. Though his portrait hung in a position of prominence and pride in their home, his absence was palpable. The pain never seemed eased or the void diminished. I stared at the photo of the handsome young officer endlessly, knowing every detail of his face and forever wondering about his motivation. I have always wanted to know more of what it took for a small town young man to become the disciplined, capable, self sacrificing hero he became. I knew that someday I would have the time and ability to learn as much as I could about the development of his integrity and fulfillment of his purposeful short life.

At age 61, I am so pleased to say that with tremendous assistance from Robert's nephew, Jack Seifert, I have been witness to his life in documents, in testimonials, in news accounts, and the words of those whose lives he spared. I have walked the Naval Academy campus where he walked. I have stood beneath the trees that shaded him seventy years ago. I have revered his display of Honor in the academy museum and teared with the sight of his slightly worn class ring on display. Having the opportunity to accept the gratitude of the South Koreans, on his behalf, is my greatest honor, and the completion of my journey of understanding. Some day I hope to place eyes on a statuesque uniformed Marine standing guard with the Reem clan and welcoming me "home" as well.