Until this morning in Caye Caulker, sitting before a fan in our little teal and mustard-colored cabana, I had never read Liesel Banner’s detailed account of Marilyn Monroe’s four-day visit to Korea in February 1954. Nicely written, well researched. It was posted on history.net in the winter of 2020, whatever that actually means.
Yes, the Korean armistice had been signed in July 1953 but there were still tens of thousands of U.S. troops policing the situation and (be honest) getting loaded on 3.2 beer and visiting brothels. 36,000 Americans died in action in Korea; more than 100,000 were wounded.
Excerpt: “Monroe’s tour in Korea had been an unqualified success, even though she came down with a bad case of bronchial pneumonia from her exposure to the icy conditions there.
“Those four carefree days not only lifted the spirits of the thousands of homesick young soldiers who saw her but also gave Monroe the genuine outpouring of love she had always craved. Her one-woman performances revealed her true talents and warm personality. ‘I never really felt like a star,’ she told her acting coach, Lotte Goslar, after she returned to the States. ‘Not really, not in my heart. I felt like one in Korea. It was so wonderful to look down and see all those young fellows smiling up at me. It made me feel wanted.”