By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsJuly 29, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (July 29, 2013) -- Korean War veterans returned to South Korea to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement that brought the brutal conflict to an end.
Eighth Army hosted the veterans on Yongsan Garrison, July 26, the day before the 60th armistice anniversary.
United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission Senior Member Republic of Korea Army Maj. Gen. Chun In-bum and Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment Brig. Gen. Chris Gentry welcomed the United Nations Command veterans to the Yongsan Movie Theater.
Korean War veterans from the United States, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Thailand visited the U.S. military headquarters post in Seoul.
Gentry thanked the Korean War veterans and described the progress that their service and sacrifices had enabled.
"I hope that by seeing all that freedom has enabled and protected, you leave with a renewed sense of pride in what your service has meant to the people of this country," said Gentry, a native of Franklin, Tenn.
Gentry said American troops carry on the veteran's legacy of service on the Korean Peninsula and they remain ready to deter aggression or to fight and win if deterrence fails.
"Every day, every night, in summer and winter, spring and fall, rain, snow or shine, this alliance maintains peace as a solemn responsibility that is neither easy nor simple," said Gentry, "but it is a commitment which we proudly embrace as the legacy of your work so many years ago."
"The great success of the Republic of Korea was made possible because of men and women like you," said Gentry.
The visit to Yongsan Garrison was part of a week full of ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice.
In an armistice anniversary message, the top American military officer in Korea talked about how South Korea had capitalized on the security provided by the Republic of Korea-United States Alliance over the last six decades.
"South Korea's vigilant security provided the foundation for this country to build a miracle of development and prosperity," said Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
"The Republic of Korea has done a spectacular job of making the most of the opportunities that the last 60 years of stability have offered," said Thurman, who is from Marietta, Okla. "It has made the sacrifices of our allies and veterans count, and I am grateful for that today."
"I am proud and humbled by the past and present selfless service of American, Korean, and our partner nations' service members and civilians and their contribution to the stability and prosperity of the Republic of Korea," said Thurman.