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National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day Memorial Ceremony

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JULY 25, 2016  — NEW YORK — The Korea Society, a 59-year-old organization that promotes awareness, understanding and cooperation between the United States and Korea, hosted a memorial ceremony for veterans of the Korean War on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at noon at the New York Korean War Veterans Memorial in Battery Park in lower Manhattan. The event, which marked the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, was organized in collaboration with the Global Society of Korea and America, a nonprofit organization that promotes good relations between Korea, the Korean-American community, and the United States.

The 40-minute ceremony commenced with the presentation of the colors by the New York State Veteran Corps of Artillery, followed by the singing of the national anthems of the Republic of Korea and the United States by a Juilliard student. Thomas J. Byrne, President of The Korea Society, welcomed the guests and Ambassador Gheehwan Kim, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in New York, provided the memorial address to veterans who are members of the Korean Veterans Association, Northeast Region; the Corporal Kivilehan Chapter #66 of Staten Island; and the Korean War Veterans Association Central Long Island Chapter #6.

Remarks were also given by Korean War veteran Salvatore Scarlato, President of the New York Department of the Korean War Veterans Association, and a memorial prayer was said by Father Samuel Kim, Prior of St. Paul’s Abbey, Newton, N.J. This Benedictine monastery was home to Brother Marinus Leonard LaRue, the late merchant marine captain who in the Korean War evacuated 14,000 refugees from Hungnam, North Korea, in what has been called one of the greatest rescues by a single ship in maritime history. The ceremony concluded with the playing of taps by a West Point bugler and the retiring of the colors.

“It is important to honor the sacrifices our veterans make for the protection of the free world,” said Thomas Byrne, Korea Society President. “As we commemorate the anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War, it is imperative to remember the importance of our special relationship with South Korea. U.S.-South Korean military, economic, and people-to-people relations today are broader, deeper, and stronger than ever.”

“Many in the vibrant Korean-American community would not be here today without the sacrifice of the South Korean and American veterans, as well as those from 20 other member nations of the United Nations who had committed themselves to support South Korea,” said Henry Kang, President of the Global Society of Korea and America.

“The United States entered the Korean War to preserve liberty and democracy in the world, and our commitment to the Korea still stands today,” said Korean War veteran Salvatore Scarlato.

 


 

REMARKS

 

Thomas J. Byrne

Thomas J. Byrne
President
The Korea Society

 

The Korea Society a 59-year-old organization that promotes awareness, understanding and cooperation between the United States and Korea, is honored to host, along with the Global Society of Korea and America, this memorial ceremony for veterans of the Korean War. Today marks the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice, which ended hostilities in 1953.

We are grateful for the participation of the consulate of the Republic of Korea in New York City; the New York State Veteran Corps of Artillery; the New York Department of the Korean Veterans Association, Northeast Region; the Corporal Kivilehan Chapter of Staten Island and the Korean War Veterans Association Central Long Island Chapter. We also thank the Juilliard School, the West Point Hellcats band, and Father Samuel Kim, Prior of St. Paul’s Benedictine Abbey in Newton, N.J.

This Benedictine monastery was home to Brother Marinus Leonard LaRue, the late merchant marine captain who in the Korean War evacuated 14,000 refugees from Hungnam, North Korea, in what has been called one of the greatest rescues by a single ship in maritime history.

It is important to honor the sacrifices our veterans make for the protection of the free world. We should never forget the commitment made by veterans of 21 countries from the United Nations and those veterans from South Korea, who held three-quarters of the front line in the year before the armistice.

President Obama in his National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day Proclamation noted that “nearly 1.8 million Americans joined in the fight and faced down communism.” They helped to provide the Republic of Korea with a new birth of freedom, democracy and prosperity.

As we commemorate National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, it is important to note that while the armistice ceased hostilities, it did not achieve, as the language of the document recommended to the governments concerned, a “final peaceful settlement.” Peaceful relations on the Korean peninsula not only remain elusive, but are under the cloud of a heightened threat from North Korea. It is, therefore, imperative to remember the importance of our special relationship with South Korea.

For more than six decades, the U.S.-ROK alliance has served as an anchor of stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region. This is possible because U.S.-South Korean military, economic and people-to-people relations today are broader, deeper, and stronger than ever.

 

Amb. Gheewhan Kim

Amb. Gheewhan Kim
Republic of Korea Consul General to New York


I am pleased and honored to commemorate the 63rd Korean War Armistice Day with you here at Battery Park. I thank the Korea Society and New York Korean War Veterans Association for preparing the event today.

Today 63 years ago was the day the Korean War ended. The Korean War was one of the most fierce wars that claimed 178,566 lives and wounded 555,022 soldiers from Korea, the United States and 15 other participating countries. Civilian causalities near 4 million in the course of 3-year warfare.

Taking this opportunity, I thank 900,000 Korean soldiers and 1.95 million multinational soldiers under the United Nations flag for their services and sacrifices. Without them, Korea today would not exist. Also, my thanks go to 10 million Korean and American veterans, who served to defend Korea, and 3.5 million US soldiers who were stationed in Korea after the Korean War Armistice in 1953.

Thanks to you all, Korea has been transformed in 63 years into a mature democracy and 11th largest economy in the world. Korea and the United States has been and remain the strongest allies, defending together shared values of freedom, human rights, rule of law, and market economy.

Again, North Korea is currently posing nuclear and missile threats. This is a provocation not only to Korea, but also to the whole region of Asia-Pacific. North Korea is misguided by young leader, Kim Jongun, to pursue nuclear weapons for the regime’s security, leaving North Korean people starving and suffering in miserable conditions.

North Korea cannot continue taking this horrible and isolated path. It needs to turn back, give up nuclear weapons and open up to new opportunities of peace and prosperity together.

Korea, the United States, and International Community are pressing North Korea hard with sanctions, which are strong and unprecedented. China and Russia have also joined implementing these strong sanctions.

Denuclearization of North Korea would not be an easy task, but I am sure this process will be all the more worthwhile, because this will help to avoid the scourge of nuclear war and to bring meaningful dialogue on peace and unification eventually. Along this path, the services and sacrifices of Korean War veterans will be remembered as evidence of strong alliance and partnership between Korea and the United States.

Once again, thank you, Korean War veterans. I wish you all good health and happiness. Thank you.

 

Henry Kang

Henry Kang
President
Global Society of Korea and America


Thanks to Ambassador Kim Gheewhan, Mr. Thomas Byrne, Father Samuel Kim, Honor Guards, Soloist Seiyoung Kim, Bugler Sergeant Jeremy Wissner and all of our distinguished guests!

And special kudos to my dear friend, Korean War Veteran Sal Scarlato and all his fellow Korean War Veterans!

On behalf of the Global Society of Korea and America, it is our great honor to be a part of the 63rd National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day commemoration ceremony.

When the Korean War broke out, I was a 10-year-old boy, so I clearly remember you. I was among the tens of millions of Korean people who owe you their lives. How can I find the words to express the enormous gratitude I and my fellow Koreans have for your sacrifice?

As young men, you came to rescue the people whom you had never met and brought them a victory and freedom.

On the foundation of your sacrifice and the continued Alliance, Korea has become one of the world's largest economies and a vibrant democracy. And, the Korean-American community in the U. S. is thriving and keeping pace with mainstream.

Today, at this time of increasing threats from North Korea, we all stand in front of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Don't we all see the brilliant sun rays shining through on the soldier's head and illuminating the plaque of the monument?

Isn't it a light of hope for Korea's peaceful unification and prosperity that transcends hatred and conflict?

Let us remember the last words of a dying soldier:- "You all the living! Your today is the life that I so eagerly wanted to live. Never let my death be fruitless nor a vain sacrifice."

Let us all together consolidate and dedicate our awakening efforts to his and all other sacrificed soldiers’ unfinished works!

Now is the time.

God bless America and Korea!

God bless you all!

Thank you!



 

Fr. Kim

Comments and memorial prayer by Fr. Samuel Kim, prior of St. Paul's Abbey


Good afternoon. My name is Fr. Samuel Kim. I am a Benedictine monk at St. Paul's Abbey. Thank you for your invitation to attend this memorial event and to the veterans of the Korean War.

I would like to tell you about our brother, Marinus LaRueu. During the Korean War, he was Captain Leonard LaRue of the merchant ship, SS Meredith Victory. In December of 1950, in the Heungnam evacuation, he took 14,000 Korean civilian refugees aboard his ship and transported them to South Korea. During the three-day journey, five babies were delivered by the first mate. Despite the hazardous conditions, frigid weather, and overcrowding, no one suffered injury or death.

After the war, in 1954, Leonard LaRue joined the missionary Benedictines at St. Paul's Abbey, where he died peacefully in 2001. I truly appreciate the humanitarian act performed by Brother Marinus and his crew. During the Korean war, I know many other acts of courage and kindness were done to help the people of Korea. So today I want to express my gratitude to all of you, the veterans, for your hard work and the sacrifices you made for Korea. As a Benedictine monk, I will pray for you and your loved ones. Thank you.

Let us pray.

O Lord, we thank You for the sacrifices our Korean War Veterans made for us and for peace. We gather here to commemorate and honor those who unselfishly served in order to give South Koreans liberty and assure greater freedom in our world. We humbly ask You to bless the men and women of our military today and all people who seek Your perfect kingdom, where no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and no strength is known but the strength of love. Guide us on the path to unity and harmony. Protect the United States of America and Korea at this time when there is so much discord and unrest in our world. In Your mercy, grant that all the nations of the world may be united in fellowship for the promotion of Your glory and the good of all mankind.

Amen.



 

Proclamation

 

NATIONAL KOREAN WAR VETERANS ARMISTICE DAY, 2016
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION



In 1950, when Communist armies from the North stormed across the 38th parallel, brave American men and women though weary of combat in the wake of World War II stepped forward to defend their brothers and sisters on the Korean Peninsula. Over the course of 3 years, through unforgiving weather and severe danger, nearly 1.8 million Americans joined in the fight and faced down Communism pushing the invading armies back and protecting a people on the other side of the world. As we mark the 63rd anniversary of the Military Armistice Agreement that brought an end to this war, we pause to honor the strength and resilience of our Korean War veterans, whose spirits and stories serve as an inspiration to continue advancing freedom's cause.

Rising from occupation and ruin, the Republic of Korea today shines as a thriving, modern country, whose people can take comfort in knowing that the commitment of the United States to their stability and security will never waver. Fifty million South Koreans now live in freedom, reaching for their dreams and pursuing opportunities in a vibrant democracy and dynamic economy always realizing they have a partner who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in defense of peace and prosperity. Our lasting friendship and unbreakable alliance are sustained by the beliefs we hold in common and the values we cherish.

As we pay tribute to the Americans who gallantly helped forge this bond, we know our solemn responsibilities to our fallen and their loved ones persist long after the battle ends. More than 7,800 Americans are still missing from the Korean War, and we will not stop working to live up to our obligations to their families. We owe all our service members an enormous debt of gratitude. To honor the full weight of the sacrifices made by those who serve, we must uphold our Nation's promise to our veterans when they return home, and fulfill our commitment to all who wear the uniform in our name.

On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we pay tribute to the American patriots who fought for freedom and democracy throughout the Korean War, leaving behind everyone they loved to secure the blessings of liberty for a country they never knew and a people they had never met. For the heavy price they paid, we will forever honor the legacy of their service and uphold the ideals they secured through this hard-won victory. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 27, 2016, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor our distinguished Korean War veterans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

 

 

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