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DAEGU, South Korea — Some weeks ago, word reached the Veterans of Foreign Wars post here that the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan needed new American flags.

Sunlight has faded the small flags that are placed at gravesites for memorial ceremonies or dignitary visits to the cemetery, where 2,300 U.N. troops from the Korean War lie buried. Of those, 36 are American.

Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is to hold a summit in Busan this November. Cemetery staff have said VIPs from four APEC nations whose troops served in the Korean War — the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada — might make graveside visits.

The cemetery’s New Zealand flags are new but those of the other three countries needed replacing, said assistant custodian Kim Soon-bong.

He acquired replacements for the Australian and Canadian flags by contacting the military attachés at their embassies in South Korea.

But to replace the U.S. flags, he called the U.S. Army at Camp Hialeah, which keeps close ties with the cemetery. “I don’t know any one of the military attachés in the American embassy and I’m very close with Mr. Pak Do-young at Camp Hialeah,” Kim said.

Pak Do-young, the camp’s community relations officer, in turn got on the phone and word soon was passed to the VFW’s Hill 303 Memorial Post 10033 in Daegu.

James Hudson, post president, said the VFW would supply 45 flags, each measuring 8 by 12 inches, according to Dave Teets, VFW’s Department of Pacific Areas commander.

“We ordered these from our national headquarters,” said Teets. “They’ll be put into the ground right next to the headstones. … Providing flags … for our past veterans who have paid their supreme sacrifice is the least we can do.”

Teets said the VFW expects to deliver the flags to the cemetery by late August.

A global graveyard

Number of troops interred in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, by nationality:

United Kingdom: 885Turkey: 462Canada: 378Australia: 281Netherlands: 117New Zealand: 34South Africa: 11France, 44United States: 36South Korea: 36Norway: 1Other nations: 15Source: United Nations Memorial Cemetery


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