U.S. President Barack Obama says the Korean War was a victory for the United States and its allies that gave the people of South Korea a chance for a brighter future.
Obama spoke to a sea of Korean War veterans and their families Saturday in Washington at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. The ceremony honored the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice signing that ended fighting in 1953 and established a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
The president said some critics of the war have called the armistice a stalemate, but he disagreed.
"We can say with confidence that war was no tie. Korea was a victory. When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, a vibrant democracy, one of the world's most dynamic economies — in stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North — that is a victory and that is your legacy," said Obama.
The president praised American service men and women for "leaving behind everyone they loved to fight for a people they had never met." He said the war showed the world the United States will remain a force for peace, security and prosperity.
The president also laid a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
South Korea sent political and military leaders to Washington to honor Korean War veterans. Special envoy Kim Jung Hun thanked the veterans for giving their "blood, sweat and tears" so that his people could live in freedom.