Wall of Remembrance finished at Washington's Korean War memorial
A ceremony to commemorate the addition to the memorial was scheduled for Wednesday morning in Washington D.C. and also to mark the 69th anniversary of the end of the three-year conflict.
It will be attended by Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Park Min-shik, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and John Tilelli, chairman of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, according to the Veterans Ministry of Korea.
The granite Wall of Remembrance, around 3.2 feet high, is a permanent addition to the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C., carrying the inscriptions of the names of 36,634 American soldiers and 7,174 members of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (Katusa), who gave their lives defending South Korea.
“It’s especially meaningful given that it’s the first time that the names of non-American citizens have been included in a veteran memorial facility in the United States,” said Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs in a statement Wednesday.
It complements the original features of the memorial including a Pool of Remembrance and a wall showing photos of some members of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force who fought in Korea.
The adjacent Vietnam Veterans Memorial has had a similar wall for years.
When the war broke out on June 25, 1950, the United States and 15 other countries sent troops to defend South Korea, all fighting under the flag of the United Nations.
The United States committed 1,789,000 troops throughout the war, the largest contingent among the United Nations forces.
The wall took nearly six years to build since the U.S. Congress enacted a law in October 2016 to authorize the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to construct it.
The names were organized by rank and respective branch of service, “demonstrating how the war’s burden fell unevenly across the military,” according to the foundation.
It cost a total of $24.2 million, of which the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs paid $23.6 million, according to the ministry.
“It is expected that the Wall of Remembrance will serve as a bridge between the peoples of both the United States and Korea,” said the ministry in its statement. “The wall will also serve as a reminder to everyone in the world about the importance of liberal democracy and peace.”
In Seoul on Wednesday, the ministry hosted hundreds of Korean War veterans and their descendants for a ceremony on the occasion of UN Forces Participation Day to remember and honor the veterans.
“The Korean War was a tragedy of an unimaginable scale,” said Lt. Gen. Andrew Harrison, deputy commander of the UN Command, in addressing the audience at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza on Wednesday morning. “This is about remembering those who were prepared to shed their precious blood for this country … [having] left the safety and security of their homes to fight under the one flag of the United Nations.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]