The 57th Korean War Commemoration Ceremony
June 25, 2007
Jangchoong Gymnasium

Opening Address
Chairman Park, Seh-Jik
The Korean Veterans Association

The Honorable Han, Duck Soo, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; Distinguished guests; Our true heroes, Korean War Veterans from home and abroad; and 7.5 million members of the Korean Veterans Association!

Today, we are gathered here to commemorate the Korean War that we cannot and should not forget.

I would, first and foremost, like to pray for those heroes who courageously fought and gave their precious lives on this soil to safeguard the Republic of Korea.

I also extend my deepest sympathy to the bereaved families who sacrificed their husbands and sons to the altar of freedom and national defense and have lived the entire lives with broken hearts.

Especially, we are honored today to have here 188 UN Korean War veterans and their families including H.E. Fidel V. Ramos, Former President of the Republic of the Philippines along with Korean National Korean War veterans and their families residing overseas.

Distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen!

Please stand and join me in thanking those heroes and showing our gratitude and respect.

My fellow members of the Korean Veterans Association and guests from abroad!

We perform the Korean War Commemoration Ceremony every year for the following reasons:

Those are, firstly, to pay tributes to our comrades-in-arms who sacrificed their lives during the war and extend our sympathy to their bereaved families.

Secondly, to let all the people realize the lessons we learned from the war and teach the lessons correctly to our descendants.

Thirdly, to renew our resolution to establish strong defense posture to prevent another war in this country.

It is a historical fact that the communist regime of Kim Il Sung broke out the Korean War to communize the Korean Peninsula instigated by the Soviet Union, causing over six millions of casualties and complete devastation of the country. It was the greatest tragedy in our history.

But not small number of young people today has been misled to believe that South Korea initiated the Korean War and our main enemy is the U.S.A. that in fact provided enormous help to the Republic of Korea during the war. Even 38 percent of elementary school students think that the Korean War broke out during the Chosun Dynasty. In this situation, how can we be confident that the Republic of Korea has a bright future and secures a strong defense posture? Our homes, schools, society, and all of us should take the responsibility of not teaching our young people correctly. In particular, I ask the Government and education authorities, which are in charge of school education, to reconsider the current education policies across the board.

North Korea has always cried out such emotional words as “People, Peace, and Brotherly Cooperation” in almost every talk. But the regime that abandoned 3 million Korean people to starve to death in order to maintain the dictatorship can never have the right to use the word “People.”

One of the main reasons that caused the provocation of the Korean War was our total ignorance of the enemy before the war. For the purpose of preventing another war in this country, it is absolutely necessary to identify the North’s intension clearly.

North Korea has developed nuclear bombs and missiles, and frequently employed brinkmanship tactics with threats of breaking a war. Those actions clearly show us the North’s genuine intention.

By maintaining nuclear weapons and menacing the south with them, the North would attempt to seize the South as hostage. By doing so, the North will be able to seek direct dialogue, which will produce US-North Korea Peace Treaty, and will possibly allow eventual withdrawal of US forces from South Korea. Then the North would try to take over the entire Korean Peninsula by way of the “low-level federation” which is specified in the June 15th South-North Joint Declaration.

The Republic of Korea should by no means be deceived by their ill-motivated propaganda of disguised peace. Therefore, we should frustrate their intention to communize South Korea.

Therefore, we must maintain the strong ROK-US combined defense posture to let North Korea realize that any nuclear threats or provocation will lead to their self destruction.

We need to bar the rash and reckless actions from the anti-American, Pro-North Korea, and Leftist activists who are disguising their real intention with such terms as “independence,” “people,” and “peace.”

My fellow members of the Korean Veterans Association and war heroes!

It is the right time for all the people of the country to march forward in order to correct the wrong security viewpoints and security insensitivity prevailing among some segments of the people in this society.

As a conclusion, I would once again like to offer my gratitude to Prime Minister Han Duck Soo and distinguished guests, and especially to the war veterans from home and abroad and my comrades-in-arms in Korea.

I extend my heartfelt wishes for the everlasting prosperity of the Republic of Korea and UN Korean War participating countries and for the happiness and health of you all.

Thank you very much!

[For a limited biography of Dr. Park, Seh-Jik click on the
symbol to the right, or on the masthead of the website]

(Posted 6/29/07)