Ceremony honors fallen Korean War veterans
May 29, 2006
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Military leaders from the United States, South Korea and other nations gathered Friday morning to remember the more than 33,000 U.S. servicemembers killed in the Korean War.
The ceremony also honored servicemembers from other nations killed in the war, as well as all U.S. soldiers, sailors, airman and Marines who died during conflicts.
“I urge you to take time to explain to your children why there is no school on Monday,” Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt told the crowd, urging them to visit the Korean national museum and say a prayer on Monday, the official U.S. Memorial Day holiday.
Valcourt also thanked the veterans in the crowd, and he remembered a trip he took with Korean War veterans five years ago to a South Korean mountain.
“For many, it was their first time to return,” he said. He recalled them telling him: “‘Now we know why we fought here in this country’ … For them, it was a solemn closure.”
Friday’s short ceremony also was solemn, with a 21-gun salute, a message from both President Bush and South Korean Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-woong, a prayer and a moment of silence.
A table held the “Books of Remembrance,” tomes that have the names of all the Americans and others who died during the 1950-53 war. Two Girls Scouts and two Boy Scouts handed out white chrysanthemums for those who wanted to place them on the books.