News / Asia

South Korea Marks 60 Years Since Start of Korean War

Members of the Korean Veterans Association
Members of the Korean Veterans Association

South Korea marks the 60th anniversary Friday of the three-year war with the North. The conflict ended with a truce in 1953 and the Korean peninsula has remained in an uneasy state between war and peace.

At a subdued ceremony in an Olympic gymnasium, South Korea paid tribute to its soldiers and allies who fought under the banner of the United Nations.

Combat and support units from 21 countries arrived after North Korean forces crossed into the South on June 25, 1950.

Addressing the veterans, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said his country's ultimate goal is not another military confrontation with the North, but peace.

President Lee says for that to happen North Korea must stop reckless military provocations, such as the torpedo sinking of the Cheonan warship three months ago, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

The president called for Pyongyang to clearly confess to sinking the vessel, apologize, and take a responsible attitude in front of the international community.


The March 26 incident has raised tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea denies involvement and has warned that any moves by the United Nations to punish it could lead to renewed war.

President Lee is expected to discuss the U.S. and South Korean response to the Cheonan incident Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, in Canada.

Former U.S. Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee from the documentary Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin.

"The Korean War was perhaps the most intense war. The Korean War only lasted three years. But there were 33,700 killed in action. "

"People make a big thing. 'Oh, you are fighting against your own brothers and all that.' But what about all the Germans and Italians in the American army fighting against the Europeans. Do they have the same concern? "

"I found war to be a fairly simple matter. Everything is black and white as a matter of life and death and the welfare of your men."

Some U.S. veterans returning to South Korea for the war anniversary are calling Seoul's public tribute to the allies long overdue.

Robert Fletcher is one of them. He arrived in Korea in 1950 as a 17-year-old private first class with the 24th Infantry, a regiment composed solely of African-American soldiers. Fletcher remains bitter that the achievements of his heavily outnumbered unit at Busan have been overshadowed in history by the subsequent counter-attack by U.S. Marines.

"We destroyed three divisions of North Koreans and then went back to our position," he said. "People don't understand it. If we hadn't held, the [U.S.] Marines would have never landed up at Incheon."

Fletcher would later be captured by the North Koreans and spend 33 months as a prisoner of war.

What also seems to be making a profound impact on the returning veterans is how South Korea rebuilt and became so prosperous. It is now Asia's fourth largest economy.

"It's completely different than I remember," said Joseph O'Brien, a U.S. Army private first class during the Korean War. "When I was here, there was nothing. Everything was blown up. Nothing but dirt roads. Everything now is so modern. It looks great."

The United States dispatched nearly 1.8 million troops, sailors and airmen to Korea during the war, making it the largest member of the 21-nation coalition. More than 36,000 Americans were killed. But the Korean people suffered the most with an estimated 2.5 million perishing during the 37 months of war.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid