Yun stood for all of usSergeant Yun Jang-ho was killed in Afghanistan in a terrorist attack while serving with the Dasan Unit of the South Korean Army, which is on a peacekeeping and reconstruction mission in the region. Mr. Yun died while distributing admission passes to locals at the front gate of the military unit. It was a suicide bombing. We are filled with deep grief at this loss.
It is heartbreaking to think of the sacrifice of this young man, who died while faithfully serving his country. He did his best to enhance Korean national glory on the other side of the Earth, even up to the moment of his death. Our sorrow deepens when we consider the stories about why he joined the Army. He went to the United States in his early teens and made it to graduate school. But he did not forget his duty to defend his nation. His family tried to stop him from going to Afghanistan, but he insisted, saying, “I’d like to be of service to the country with my English.” He deserves the honor of being called a true soldier in the history of the Korean military. We, together with the people of this country, express our deep condolences to Mr. Yun’s family and our appreciation for his noble sacrifice.
Currently, there are some 2,500 South Korean soldiers dispatched to eight regions, as a part of the United Nations peacekeeping or multinational forces. We think this is an unavoidable part of being a responsible member of the international community and maintaining a close alliance with the United States. In the sense of geopolitics, South Korea cannot guarantee its survival and development when it acts out of concert with the international community. This was why South Korea established the Dasan Unit and the Zaytun Unit, whose goals are to fight terrorism, which the international community considers the biggest enemy today, and to keep peace in the world. The sacrifice of Sergeant Yun is more sublime because South Korea was contributing to the international community when he died.
In this sense, it is unfortunate that some civic groups are talking about the withdrawal of South Korean units from Iraq and Afghanistan. Those civic groups are only overshadowing the meaning of Mr. Yun’s sacrifice. Mr. Yun’s loss is very heartbreaking, but this is why the government and the public need to adopt a calmer, more determined attitude. We should not give in to the threat of terrorism. Only by taking a stand can we enhance Korea’s national status in the international community and assert the national pride of our people.