Statue honors American who died in fight for Korea

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Statue honors American who died in fight for Korea

With three days before the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, Seoul yesterday erected a bronze statue in memory of an American Navy officer who died fighting North Korea during the 1950-53 war.

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young attended the event to honor Lt. William Hamilton Shaw at the Eunpyeong Peace Park in Eunpyeong District, northwest Seoul, the Ministry of Unification said in a release.

Shaw, the only son of William Earl Shaw, a Protestant missionary to Korea during the Japanese colonial rule, was born in Pyongyang in 1922, and received his primary and secondary education in Korea. He then went to the United States, where he finished college and entered the U.S. Navy as an officer. He served one year of his military stint in Korea in 1947.

Shaw volunteered to rejoin the U.S. Navy when the Korean War broke out, suspending his doctoral studies at Harvard University. Serving as an aide to General Douglas MacArthur, Shaw came to Seoul as the allied forces were pushing North Korea back from the South Korean capital in 1951.

He was killed in a battle in Nokbeon-ri, now in Eunpyeong District, at the age of 29.

The district, which had long commemorated him with a stone monument, spent 40 million won ($33,000) on the statue, according to the district office.

“Korea as it is now only exists because of sacrifices of soldiers who fought during the Korean War like Lt. Shaw,” the defense minister said in a statement. “The Korean public will never forget 29-year-old Lt. Shaw.”

As the anniversary of the war’s outbreak approaches, the government has intensified efforts to raise public awareness of national security. Security concerns have been at a high since the South Korean warship Cheonan was sunk in the North Sea, allegedly by a North Korean torpedo, on the night of March 26. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the attack.

“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, but as we saw in the Cheonan attack, peace is yet to come to this country,” said Kim.

“To prevent a tragedy like the Cheonan attack from happening again, the government will sternly deal with [North Korea].”

Also yesterday, Unification Vice Minister Um Jong-sik urged the North to apologize for the Cheonan incident as he attended a symposium held at the War Memorial in Yongsan, Seoul.

“North Korea should make an official apology swiftly and show its commitment to not repeat such incidents by punishing those responsible,” Um said.

By Moon Gwang-lip []
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