“Freedom Is Not For Free.”
In Colorado Springs on 23rd, the 69th anniversary of the Korean War Memorial Ceremony and the 26th anniversary of the dedication of the Korean War Monument were solemnly held in front of the Memorial Park of the Korean War Veteran Memorial. The event also commemorates the Korean War Armistice Agreement and the day of the United Nations’ military participation, which is set as July 27th every year.
Veterans and their families gathered Saturday morning at the Korean War Monument in Memorial Park to commemorate and remember the signing of the armistice, and the end of the Korean War. The Korean War started June 25th, 1950, after a force of over 75,000 communist North Korean soldiers invaded into South Korea, and American troops were deployed to stop the invasion soon after.
Also known as the Forgotten War, the Korean War monument honors more than 23,000 service members killed in brutal three-year war that has never officially ended. According to the statistics, more than 103,000 soldiers were wounded and about 7,500 bodies of American soldiers have been missing. The result of the Korean War was not a peace deal, but rather an agreement to settle a demilitarized zone (DMZ) across the Korean peninsula. Technically, two Koreas are still in a war against each other.
Although not many people have been able to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decreasing number of veterans over the past two years, many community leaders including Koreans and Americans have participated in the event to honor our veterans.
Kim Elizabeth, the president of the Korean Association of Southern Colorado, said “It is heartbreaking to see the number of veterans participating over time. The city of Colorado Springs is home to many veterans, and surprisingly, so many parents and families of our friends have participated in the Korean War. We will try our best to honor them so that their sacrifice and spirits will never be forgotten. Thank you so much for helping our homeland. You are the reason we are here today.”
James McGibney, the former honorary consulate to the Republic of Korea in Denver and also the president of the Dutch Nelson Chapter, said “What you accomplished was the same thing that all the troops did – you gave hope to a nation that really had no reason to hope. We will remember your sacrifice and your service.” The Colorado Springs-based Dutch Nelson Chapter started in 1988 and was one of the first organizations in the state to host a reunion for Korean War veterans.
The ceremony began with the entry of the two national flags of the United States and the Republic of Korea by the Widefield High School Students. Wreaths were presented in front of the Korean War Monument in honor of those who served in the war, those killed in action, and those who remain missing in action. At the end of the ceremony, participants had a great time saying hello to each other while enjoying a lunch carefully prepared by the Korean Association of Southern Colorado.