UN Korean War troops honored
The Korean War Commemoration Day, co-hosted by the Korea JoongAng Daily and the KMA, was held on the school’s campus to commemorate next year’s 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.
Twenty-one UN member states contributed to the UN force, and dignitaries from nearly half of their embassies in Seoul participated in Friday’s event, including Canada, Britain, Colombia, South Africa, Turkey, Sweden, the Netherlands and Thailand. The EU Mission also participated.
The guests took a brief tour of the school campus, saw a photo exhibition of the Korean War and observed the school’s weekly Hwarang Ceremony, a parade that’s performed by the cadets to reflect on their past week and plan the upcoming week while reminding themselves of their moral duties.
“When South Korea was attacked by the North on the 25th of June, 1950, the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands decided that same year to answer the call of the Security Council of the United Nations and send troops to Korea,” Dutch Ambassador to Korea Joanne Doornewaard said in her congratulatory remarks during a reception.
During the Korean War, Doornewaard elaborated about how the Dutch battalion was dispatched to Hoengseong County, Gangwon. In Hoengseong, the Dutch troops defended the line against the attacking Chinese and North Korean troops, the top envoy noted. In total, 123 Dutch soldiers lost their lives in the Korean War, together with 40 Korean soldiers at their side, said Doornewaard.
“But there were many, many more who paid the high price. Sacrifice was made by all the UN sending states. And therefore, it is with the utmost respect that I like to honor the valor of the soldiers and medical professionals of all the UN sending states,” she said.
Ryu Kwon-ha, CEO of the Korea JoongAng Daily, thanked the sending states for fighting side by side with South Korea, attributing Korea’s current economic development to their “blood, sweat and tears.”
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” said Ryu, “without the generous help of your countries.”
He went on, “Their blood, sweat and tears are what enabled us to get through three years of conflict and to thrive in the following peaceful decades. They were our brothers and sisters, our true comrades.”
Lt. Gen. Chung Jin-kyung, superintendent of the KMA, mentioned how 151 cadets sacrificed their lives in the Korean War.
“The current location of the Korea Military Academy is the very birthplace where the Republic of Korea Armed Forces was first established,” said Chung. “Also, this is where you can feel the spirit of the 151 cadets of the Korea Military Academy who fought against the North Korean Army in order to protect the Republic of Korea during the Korean War.”
The KMA will take the initiative in making “meaningful changes” and perform its “role as the first mover,” Chung stressed.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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