• A Soldier dressed in a Korean War period uniform watches ceremonies in Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    A Soldier dressed in a Korean War period uniform watches ceremonies in Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended...

  • Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, participate July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, participate July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

  • David W. Mills, a Korean War veteran, speaks during tributes to Korean War veterans at Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012.  Mills was a rifleman with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in 1953, and during the heavy fighting he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Chinese.

    Korean War

    David W. Mills, a Korean War veteran, speaks during tributes to Korean War veterans at Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Mills was a rifleman with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in 1953, and during...

  • Commemoration ceremonies were held in Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Commemoration ceremonies were held in Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

  • Korean War veterans, former Soldiers and Medal of Honor recipients retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald E. Rosser (right) and Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez, pay respects to their fallen comrades during the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Korean War veterans, former Soldiers and Medal of Honor recipients retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald E. Rosser (right) and Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez, pay respects to their fallen comrades during the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown...

  • Army leaders view ceremonies at Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Army leaders view ceremonies at Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27...

  • Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Raymond J. Moran shows his Certificate of Appreciation, given to him today by Secretary of State Leon Panetta. It reads: "In recognition of honorable service during the Korean War in defense of Democracy and Freedom. Through your selfless sacrifice, the tide of communism on the Korean Peninsula was halted and liberty triumphed over tyranny. The Department of Defense and the people of America and Korea are forever grateful."

    Korean War

    Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Raymond J. Moran shows his Certificate of Appreciation, given to him today by Secretary of State Leon Panetta. It reads: "In recognition of honorable service during the Korean War in defense of Democracy and Freedom. Through your...

  • Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, participate July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, participate July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

  • The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fife and Drum Corps march to the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fife and Drum Corps march to the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012, during commemoration ceremonies marking the 59th anniversary of the...

  • A bugler from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fife and Drum Corps plays Taps to honor veterans of the Korean War, following a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    A bugler from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fife and Drum Corps plays Taps to honor veterans of the Korean War, following a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration...

  • Leaders, including the Korean Ambassador to the U.S., Choi Young-Jin and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, to honor service and sacrifice of veterans of the Korean War, July 27, 2012. Attendees, including those on the balcony above include: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, former Army chief of staff; Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh; Gen. Robert W. Cone, commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; Lt. Gen. William Troy, director of the Army Staff; Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III; retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald E. Rosser, Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient; Cpl. Rodolfo P. Hernandez, a former Soldier, Korean War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient; and David W. Mills, a former Soldier and Korean War veteran. Many Soldiers and other veterans and their families were also among the attendees.

    Korean War

    Leaders, including the Korean Ambassador to the U.S., Choi Young-Jin and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, to honor service and sacrifice of veterans of the Korean War, July...

  • Leaders, including the Korean Ambassador to the U.S., Choi Young-Jin (left), and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (beside him), lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, to honor service and sacrifice of veterans of the Korean War, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    Leaders, including the Korean Ambassador to the U.S., Choi Young-Jin (left), and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (beside him), lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, to honor service and sacrifice of veterans of...

  • A formation of Korean War-era aircraft flies over Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean Peninsula, July 27, 1953.

    Korean War

    A formation of Korean War-era aircraft flies over Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery, July 27, 2012. Commemoration ceremonies were held, marking the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended fighting on the Korean...

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, July 27, 2012) -- The Army, along with the other services and the nation, today observed the 59th anniversary of the armistice agreement ending the Korean War, June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, and honored the service and sacrifice of Soldiers and other veterans who served.

The ceremony took place at Arlington National Cemetery with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, tributes to Korean War veterans at Memorial Amphitheater, musical honors by the U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, and the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, Fife and Drum Corps, and participation by other Soldiers from joint service color guard and honor platoons.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who served in the Army during the 1960s, helped lay the wreath and later spoke at Memorial Amphitheater. "This is an opportunity to remember and to pay tribute to the 54,246 U.S. servicemembers who lost their lives in the Korean War," he said. "It's also an opportunity to celebrate the heroism, the sacrifices, the sheer grit and determination of the bravery of thousands of Americans who fought in the Korean War."

David W. Mills also spoke during tributes to fellow Korean War veterans at Memorial Amphitheater. Mills, a rifleman with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in 1953, was wounded and taken prisoner. On the day of the armistice signing on July 27, 1953, he was still being held in a Chinese POW camp.

He explained what happened: "On that day, the guards acted friendlier and camp conditions improved but we were still uncertain about our fate. A few weeks later we were notified that an agreement had been reached and that we would soon be transported for repatriation. It was the happiest day in my young, 17 year old life."

Many other veterans who didn't partake in the speeches were at the ceremonies today.

Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Raymond J. Moran, 82, who attended the wreath laying, was serving in Tokyo when war broke out June 25, 1950. A few weeks later, he and other Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, landed in Pohang, South Korea, where they fought their way to Taegu. Moran saw heavy fighting and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He went on to serve again in combat in Vietnam, Cambodia and during Operation Desert Storm. He said he was proud, yet humbled, to be present at the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the fighting.

Leroy Brooks, an African-American who grew up in Washington, D.C., served in Korea in 1952. He was with the 31st Infantry Regiment and fought as an infantryman in the area around the 38th Parallel. He said the "happiest part of the war was making it home alive."

George Lally, 80, served in Korea in1953 with the 3rd Infantry Division. He recalls July 27, 1953, while serving on the fighting lines north of Seoul. "I heard about the armistice but didn't believe it was true," he said, adding that it was "hot like today. Korea is always hot in summer and very cold in winter. We were fighting alongside the Turks. The Reds are afraid of the Turks, you know, so we were happy to be near them, but the happiest day was when the fighting stopped," he added.

Page last updated Fri July 27th, 2012 at 00:00