“As President of the Republic of Korea, I would like to express my deepest sympathies for the devotion and courage of the UN soldiers who fought for the freedom and peace of Korea and were buried in a distant foreign country,” said President Park in her speech at a memorial ceremony held by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
President Park Geun-hye (center) lays a flower at one of the tombs of UN soldiers in the UN Memorial Cemetery.
President Park expressed her strong will to build Korea as a country that all UN veterans can take pride in. “Over the last 60 years, Korea has transformed from a war-torn country into one of the top ten economies of the world by overcoming the aftermath of the war within a short term of time,” she said.
The memorial ceremony was attended by nearly 250 people, including foreign ambassadors representing 21 countries that participated in the Korean War, American soldiers, war veterans, and students.
Prior to the ceremony, President Park visited the cemetery to pay her respects to the fallen UN soldiers from allied countries, including Turkey, Australia, the United States, and Canada, which all participated in the Korean War. She laid flowers and paid a silent tribute to some of the buried UN soldiers, including the Harsey brothers from Canada who sacrificed their lives during the war and were buried together 61 years later.
2,300 UN soldiers from eleven of the total of 21 participating countries are buried at the cemetery, which is the only UN cemetery in the world.