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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs