Shortchanging our militaryOn Monday, the Moon Jae-in administration celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of South Korea’s Armed Forces in the Peace Square of the War Memorial in Yongsan, downtown Seoul. But the mood of the event was eerily sullen despite pop singers’ flamboyant performances. No military parade or display of our military’s top-notch weapons took place. In the past, the proud celebration of the day was held in the streets of Seoul or Gyeryongdae, South Chungcheong, where the headquarters of the Army, Navy and Air Force are located. But last year, the Moon administration staged the event in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi — home to our Second Naval Fleet — and this year, in a relatively small space of the memorial in the evening.
Moreover, the government has skipped a military parade on the streets, which took place every five years, even though this year marks the 70th anniversary of the day. The liberal administration seems to try to increasingly diminish the pride of the day. After controversy arose over the government’s decision, the Blue House explained that it had to change the time of the event from morning to evening because the public cannot watch live coverage of the event in the morning.
The people can feel secure when they can confirm the strength of their armed forces. Only when the military plays a role befitting the guardian of our liberty can the public feel secure. One of the best ways to demonstrate such trust is a military parade or inspection in an open space.
We cannot but wonder what kind of meaning an event full of performances by singers can have on such a day. As it turned out, the decision to scale down the otherwise glorious event was not made by the Ministry of National Defense. The order came down from senior presidential secretaries in charge of national security at the Blue House in order not to provoke North Korea.
The downsizing of the event contradicts what Moon said in a Blue House luncheon yesterday. “The driving force for peace comes from a strong military and public trust backs them up,” he stressed. But how can the public have confidence in the military when they are demoralized?
We seriously wonder if our military can fight a war with enemies when their morale is dampened. On Monday, the government held an event celebrating the return of the remains of our soldiers fallen during the Korean War at the Seongnam Airport. But first, the government must try to bring back remaining POWs and those who were kidnapped by North Korea in the past.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 2, Page 30