USAG Daegu, South Korea - The 15th Chilgok Annual Korean-American Friendship Day Event was held Dec. 7 at Chilgok Patriots & Peace Memorial Hall, Chilgok County to celebrate the Korean War Armistice Agreement and to show appreciation for the Korean War veterans. Soldiers and civilians of the U.S. Army, Korean War veterans, members of Chilgok County and community leaders of USAG Daegu gathered to celebrate the event.
The Korean-American Friendship Day was founded by Mr. Yi Hyun-si, former President of the Chilgok Korean American Friendship Association. Yi started the event in July 2003, on the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, in order to foster better understanding of the history of the Korean War in the Waegwan area and strengthen ties between Camp Carroll and the local community. The event continued annually and is now hosted by Mr. Lee, Sam-hwan, current President of Chilgok KAFA.
The event started off with a musical performance by the North Korean defectors, followed U.S. and ROK National Anthems and a moment of prayer for the fallen Korean War veterans. Welcoming remarks were made by Mr. Lee.
"ROK and U.S. Soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder and sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedom of our countries. This event has been held for 15 years which shows strongest alliance between ROK and U.S." said Lee.
Commemorative remarks followed by Mr. Baek, Sun-ki, Chilgok Governor and USAG Daegu Commander Col. Robert P. Mann Jr.
"U.S. President Donald Trump stressed the importance of a ROK and U.S. Alliance in his speech at the South Korea Parliament when he visited Korea last month," said Baek.
"As you well know, the alliance was forged in blood during the Korean War 67 years ago and has continued to evolve and deepen for six decades. Chilgok has built the Korean American Friendship Park to commemorate two of the U.S. Soldiers who sacrificed their lives at Hill 303 during the Korean War. This memorial park is the first part of Chilgok County's project to honor the memory of the fallen Soldiers," added Baek.
"There are four words on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.," said Mann. "Freedom is not free."
"It was not free then and it is not free now. It is the cost that must be continuously paid. It is our honor to pay that price and to be a part of the alliance that defends this country and keeps this country safe and free while enabling the incredible growth and prosperity of the past six decades."
After the remarks, the distinguished guests and attendees watched a short documentary about the Korean War and the influence it had over the two nations. Then, Chilgok Korean War veterans, including Mr. Yi, Kil-soo, President of Chilgok Korea Veterans Association was introduced and recognized by the attendees and received a standing ovation. The event concluded with the singing of the U.S. Army Song and ROK Military song 'Battle buddies, rest in peace.'
"It's like saying that the past doesn't exist anymore and the future doesn't exist yet. I would like this event to be a good opportunity to share in our countries' prosperity with our Korean War heroes and confirm our unwavering alliance forged in blood," said Lee.
"Just as our two nations and other allies stood together with determination those 67 years ago, so we stand together in friendship today. I am proud to be a U.S. Soldier preserving this alliance forged in blood. I take great pride in sharing the privilege of being a defender of freedom with you and carrying on in your footsteps," said Mann.