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Hundreds of veterans, service members, families and others gathered Wednesday morning at the Korean War Veterans Memorial for a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance, a newly added portion of the memorial that commemorates each person who died in the Korean War.

Called the "forgotten war," the Korean War lasted from 1950 to 1953 but was largely overshadowed by World War II, which preceded it, and the Vietnam War, which came after.

At Wednesday's ceremony, retired Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., who chairs the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, emphasized that the Wall of Remembrance is an effort to change that narrative.

A sizable crowd takes part in a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

A sizable crowd takes part in a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

"With this dedication ceremony, I hope that it is no longer the forgotten war, but the remembered victory that was caused by the veterans," Tilelli said.

The ceremony, which took place on the 69th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended combat in the Korean War, came after just over a year of construction on the Wall of Remembrance, which started in March 2021.

On Tuesday, the site hosted a visitation for family members of the fallen.

Vietnam veteran Terry Ogle and his wife Anne McEnerny-Ogle search names on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Vietnam veteran Terry Ogle and his wife Anne McEnerny-Ogle search names on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Vietnam veteran Terry Ogle takes a picture as his wife Anne McEnerny-Ogle reaches out to touch the name of her uncle, Charles D. McEnerny, engraved on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Vietnam veteran Terry Ogle takes a picture as his wife Anne McEnerny-Ogle reaches out to touch the name of her uncle, Charles D. McEnerny, engraved on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Anne McEnerny-Ogle points to the name of her uncle, Charles D. McEnerny, engraved on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Anne McEnerny-Ogle points to the name of her uncle, Charles D. McEnerny, engraved on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Anne McEnerny-Ogle tears up with emotion moments after finding her uncle's name on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Anne McEnerny-Ogle tears up with emotion moments after finding her uncle's name on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Hundreds of people attending an event at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, stand facing the American flag during the playing of the National Anthem.

Hundreds of people attending an event at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, stand facing the American flag during the playing of the National Anthem. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Hundreds of people attend an event at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Hundreds of people attend an event at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

The Korean War Veterans Memorial itself was dedicated in 1995 — but until the new Wall of Remembrance was finished this year, no parts of the memorial listed all the service members who died during the war.

A proposal to authorize the construction of a Wall of Remembrance was first introduced in Congress in 2016 by then-Reps. Sam Johnson, Charles Rangel and John Conyers, all Korean War veterans. Former President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

That law also allowed for private contributions to fund the construction of the wall, which paved the way for several donations, including from South Korean corporations and individuals.

Gate Briseno, who served in the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Division during the Korean War, chats with Sharlene Wells, right, before a ceremony just outside the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where the memorial's new Wall of Remembrance was dedicated on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.  Briseno said while he served in Korea, he always felt like he was not going to make it home that “death was tugging at your elbow.” To cope, he said he mostly avoided making good friends, “because it hurts too much when you lose them.” On the remembrance wall, Briseno found the names of two he did befriend. “Murph… He died in my arms. The only friend I really made. Him and Swan. I felt them with my hands. They were there.”

Gate Briseno, who served in the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Division during the Korean War, chats with Sharlene Wells, right, before a ceremony just outside the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where the memorial's new Wall of Remembrance was dedicated on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. Briseno said while he served in Korea, he always felt like he was not going to make it home that “death was tugging at your elbow.” To cope, he said he mostly avoided making good friends, “because it hurts too much when you lose them.” On the remembrance wall, Briseno found the names of two he did befriend. “Murph… He died in my arms. The only friend I really made. Him and Swan. I felt them with my hands. They were there.” (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Korean War veteran Ron Twentey, from Hagerstown, Md., fans himself during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

Korean War veteran Ron Twentey, from Hagerstown, Md., fans himself during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

A woman dressed in traditional Korean garb uses a fan to block the sun on her face during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

A woman dressed in traditional Korean garb uses a fan to block the sun on her face during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

A U.S. Marine offers cold water to a Korean War veteran during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

A U.S. Marine offers cold water to a Korean War veteran during a ceremony to dedicate the Wall of Remembrance addition to the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Jeff Cribben chokes up with emotion shortly after finding the name of his uncle, James J. Cribben, on the new Wall of Remembrance unveiled at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Cribben’s uncle and his father, Walter Cribben, were identical twins and Marines who served in the Korean War. Jeff Cribben said his uncle went missing-in-action when thousands of enemy troops overran Outpost Vegas on March 26, 1953. Cribben said his father, who would look through body bags on transport vehicles to try to identify his brother, came back to the States a “broken and tortured” man. Though his father tried to live a normal life, “he never got over” the loss of his brother. “It affected our whole family … our whole lives.” Cribben said his father died in 1999, “never knowing the ultimate fate of his brother.” To see his uncle’s name on the wall and “honored in this way is truly incredible,” he said.

Jeff Cribben chokes up with emotion shortly after finding the name of his uncle, James J. Cribben, on the new Wall of Remembrance unveiled at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Cribben’s uncle and his father, Walter Cribben, were identical twins and Marines who served in the Korean War. Jeff Cribben said his uncle went missing-in-action when thousands of enemy troops overran Outpost Vegas on March 26, 1953. Cribben said his father, who would look through body bags on transport vehicles to try to identify his brother, came back to the States a “broken and tortured” man. Though his father tried to live a normal life, “he never got over” the loss of his brother. “It affected our whole family … our whole lives.” Cribben said his father died in 1999, “never knowing the ultimate fate of his brother.” To see his uncle’s name on the wall and “honored in this way is truly incredible,” he said. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Retired Coast Guard Capt. Steve Froehlich visits the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Froehlich said his uncle, Robert Schoening, went MIA in North Korea in November of 1950. Remains found in a grave in North Korea in 2000 were later identified as his uncle's in 2009 by matching DNA samples of his uncle's siblings. Froehlich said he has always found the Korean War Memorial to be "a very nice, beautiful memorial. I never found it emotional. Now it is with 43,000 names."

Retired Coast Guard Capt. Steve Froehlich visits the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Froehlich said his uncle, Robert Schoening, went MIA in North Korea in November of 1950. Remains found in a grave in North Korea in 2000 were later identified as his uncle's in 2009 by matching DNA samples of his uncle's siblings. Froehlich said he has always found the Korean War Memorial to be "a very nice, beautiful memorial. I never found it emotional. Now it is with 43,000 names." (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Retired Navy Capt. Richard Halferty gets wheeled in to the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Retired Navy Capt. Richard Halferty gets wheeled in to the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

The flags of 67 countries that allied themselves to the Republic of Korea during the Korean War fly just outside the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, during a ceremony to dedicate the memorial's Wall of Remembrance addition.

The flags of 67 countries that allied themselves to the Republic of Korea during the Korean War fly just outside the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, during a ceremony to dedicate the memorial's Wall of Remembrance addition. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

"It would not have been done without the major support of the people of the Republic of Korea and the Korean government," Tilelli said.

Korean service members also are recognized on the Wall of Remembrance. Integrated among the names of the Americans who died are the names of thousands of Koreans who also died. They were part of the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army, or KATUSA, a program created at the outbreak of the Korean War through an agreement between the United States and Republic of Korea.

"The Wall of Remembrance features 43,808 names of the war's fallen heroes — 36,634 American soldiers and 7,174 KATUSA soldiers side by side," said Cho Tae-yong, the Republic of Korea's ambassador to the United States. "This wall reminds us of the depths of their sacrifice that instills in us the call of duty to carry on their fight."

The names on the wall are organized by rank and branch of service, which demonstrates how the burden of the war fell unevenly across the U.S. military, according to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation's website.

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who was a member of the official party at the dedication, said the ceremony marked "the culmination of efforts over many many years by American and Korean veterans, their families and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to make this Wall of Remembrance a reality."

After laying wreaths and roses in front of the Wall of Remembrance with other members of the official party — including national security adviser Jake Sullivan — Emhoff also said that President Joe Biden’s administration is dedicated to continuing the United States-South Korea alliance first forged during the war. 

Last year, Biden awarded a Medal of Honor to Korean War veteran Ralph Puckett Jr. Former Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in was present at that ceremony, marking the first time in history a foreign leader participated in a Medal of Honor Ceremony, Emhoff said.

Additionally, on Monday, Biden issued a proclamation marking July 27, 2022, as Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

"I've been privileged to witness the strong alliance between our countries firsthand," Emhoff said. "It's a testament to the unique bonds that our countries have."

To some Gold Star family members at the ceremony, such as Sarah Hesketh, seeing the Wall of Remembrance finally come to fruition was emotional.

Hesketh's great-uncle Maj. Hugh Casey — the name behind U.S. military base Camp Casey in South Korea — died when his plane was shot down by enemy fire near the 38th parallel. Seeing her uncle's name on the Wall of Remembrance was "very humbling" for her, she told Stars and Stripes.

"It's a very emotional experience to know that our family for generations to come will be able to come back and look at all the names and know exactly what the cost of freedom is," she said.

Seoul Broadcasting System reporter Seung Mo-Nam reports on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Seoul Broadcasting System reporter Seung Mo-Nam reports on the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

Reporters from the daily South Korean newspaper Munhwa interview Jeff Cribben, as his uncle, Navy veteran Robert Camudio looks on at the unveiling ceremony of the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Reporters from the daily South Korean newspaper Munhwa interview Jeff Cribben, as his uncle, Navy veteran Robert Camudio looks on at the unveiling ceremony of the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Cho Tae-yong speaks at the unveiling of the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Cho Tae-yong speaks at the unveiling of the new Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)


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