British Korean War veterans march to mark armistice

Soldiers who took part in the Korean War (1950-1953) 60 years ago are now old with silver hair. British veterans recently participated in a parade and mass in their home country to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice (July 27) hosted by the British Ministry of Defense and the British Korean Veterans Association (BKVA). They wore uniforms while they marched the parade. They grew old but still looked as imposing as ever before. 

The event was attended by 900 people including HRH the Duke of Gloucester, Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois, current and former British generals, former British Ambassador to Korea Warwick Morris, and Korean War veterans and their families. 

Korean War veterans march in a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice. The Veterans were joined by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, His Excellency Ambassador Lim, and the Rt. Hon. Mark Francois MP, Minister of State for Defence, Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.

The youngest of the war veterans was 81 years old, while most of them were in their mid- to late 80s and some were in their 90s. 

The war veterans marched one kilometer from Horse Guards Square to Westminster Abbey where they later took part in a mass conducted in an Anglican Church tradition, attended by the Duke of Gloucester as the highest guest of the British side. 

Captain Park Ju-hyeon (right), Defence Attaché of the Korean Embassy, speaks to a war veteran 
Captain Park Ju-hyeon (right), Defence Attaché of the Korean Embassy, speaks to a war veteran. Captain Park and Major General Swindells CB joined BKVA members for the annual wreath laying ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral. The Ceremony was led by Korean War Veteran Rev. Evans who said: “We remember in our prayers all those who lost sons, husbands, brothers or friends, and pray with them for those killed in battle, or who died of wounds or sickness while on active service or as prisoners of War in North Korea.” (photo courtesy of KCCUK).

Major-General Mike Swindelles, president of the BKVA, gave a message to pay tribute to the fallen. Korean Ambassador to the United Kingdom Lim Sung-nam read a message of gratitude on behalf of Korean President Park Geun-hye and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with Peter Downward, a BKVA public relations official.

Separately, there is an ongoing exhibition titled “A Soldier’s Tale -- 60 Years of Memories, 130 Years of Friendship” at the Asia House in London to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice, as well as the 130th anniversary of Korea-UK diplomatic relations. 

Fourteen artists created works to reflect upon the sacrifice and agony of the veterans. Over 30 veterans visited the opening of the exhibition on July 8. The event continues until July 20. 

War veterans pose for a picture. British Veterans of the War, their friends and families gathered at Horse Guards Parade before marching to Westminster Abbey.
“I felt sorry for the fact that the Korean War has remained the ‘Forgotten War’ in Britain despite the fact that Britain dispatched the second-largest batch of soldiers, 56,700,” said Kim Seung-min, curator for the exhibition. “I wanted to create artworks to commemorate the sacred sacrifice of the veteran and an archive of the war when they were still alive.” 

“I still have the vivid images of numerous soldiers who deceased,” said veteran Dick Fair, 81, gently closing his eyes in front of a piece created by Yoon Seok-nam using 500 wooden dolls to pay tribute to the fallen of the Gloucester regiment. 

Many British media outlets covered the event. BBC anchorwoman Mishal Husain presided at the event. 

"The artworks respond in diverse ways and encourage visitors to reflect upon the untold pain, optimism and perseverance," the Korean Cultural Centre UK said in a press release. 

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