Across the US, veterans and Korean Americans remember the ‘forgotten war’

June 26, 2015
Veterans strike the Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro, Calif., for the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Thursday. (Park Sang-hyuk/Korea Times)

Veterans strike the Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro, Calif., for the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Thursday. (Park Sang-hyuk/Korea Times)

It has been 65 years since the Korean War.

Commemorations across the U.S. took hold Thursday as veterans and Korean American communities came out to remember what is so often called the “forgotten war.”

In Los Angeles, the Korean Consul General held a ceremony inside his official residence for a crowd of about 200, among them Korean War veterans and members of the Korean Veterans Association.

Hosted by the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles, the association and the Consulate General, the ceremony honored veterans from around the world, with representatives from Thailand, Greece, Turkey and the Philippines in attendance.

“The sacrificial spirit of Korean War soldiers will never die,” said Park Hong-ki, association president. “Let us not forget the horrors of the fratricidal war and, through history, think about improving the future.”

From the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, about 60 teachers visiting town for a weeklong Korean studies seminar from across the country visited the Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro to remember the war with veterans.

Seminar organizers explained the history of the war to educators as veterans struck the bell.

In New Jersey, the Korean American Association of Fort Lee held a commemorative ceremony in front of the city’s Korean War Veterans Memorial, joined by veterans, Mayor Mark Sokolich and City Councilman Peter Suh.

In San Francisco, the Korean Consulate General, the Santa Clara Korean American Senior Volunteers Association, the Jin Duck & Kyung Sik Kim Foundation and the Silicon Valley Korean American Federation pulled together for an appreciation plaque-giving ceremony for a group of about 300 veterans, Korean representatives and area politicians.

Thirty-three veterans received Ambassador of Peace medals from the South Korean government at the event.

“Thanks to the sacrifice of Korean War soldiers, Korea gained peace and democracy,” said Consul General Han Dong-man.

About 200 veterans also gathered inside the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the South Korean Embassy organized a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of those who served in the war.

Shin Kyung-soo, Korean defense attaché, gave a speech alongside Ambassador Ahn Ho-young, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear and Senator Dan Sullivan after the entrance of 21 country flags and the United Nations flag.

Larry Kinard, president of he Korean War Veterans Association, also spoke.

Kinard called the Korean War “not the ‘forgotten war’ but the ‘forgotten victory.’”

The Korean War, which started June 25, 1950, took the lives of an estimated 1.3 million people and demanded the service of soldiers from 21 nations. About 40,600 died, and another 4,116 were never accounted for.

A Fort Lee, N.J., Korean War commemoration ceremony was attended by veterans, Mayor Mark Sokolich and City Councilman Peter Suh Thursday.

A Fort Lee, N.J., Korean War commemoration ceremony was attended by veterans, Mayor Mark Sokolich and City Councilman Peter Suh Thursday.

Veterans gathered inside the Korean War Veterans Memorial Thursday in Washington, D.C., for a wreath-laying ceremony of soldiers from 21 countries that participated in the war.

Veterans gathered inside the Korean War Veterans Memorial Thursday in Washington, D.C., for a wreath-laying ceremony of soldiers from 21 countries that participated in the war.

San Francisco's Korean American organizations and the Consulate General gathered to hold a plaque-giving ceremony for veterans of the Korean War for its 65th anniversary Thursday.

San Francisco’s Korean American organizations and the Consulate General gathered to hold a plaque-giving ceremony for veterans of the Korean War for its 65th anniversary Thursday.

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