This past July 27th marked the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that officially put the Korean War on hold. It was a silent holiday that went nearly unnoticed by the world. However, for those soldiers who lived through the Korean War, this was an important day, no matter what side they fought on, and many gathered to remember and to celebrate.
In North Korea, this day was celebrated with war veterans visiting Panmunjom to pledge their unchanging loyalty to North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. Fireworks were also fired to celebrate the day. The commemorations are meant to kindle patriotism and loyalty in North Koreans, and especially the young, by showcasing veterans who fought for their country, said Kim Yeon-su of Korea National Defense University in Seoul. Ahead of the anniversary, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its long-standing demand that the United States sign a peace treaty with North Korea to replace the armistice. However, the United States continues to stand by its claim that normal ties will only come after North Korea abandons its pursuit of nuclear weapons and takes other steps towards change.
In the United States, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on Friday to commemorate the end of the Korean War 59 years ago, as the Pentagon hosted a formal ceremony to mark the anniversary.
“Today, on the 59th anniversary of the Military Armistice Agreement signed at Panmunjom, we honor all who served in the Korean War, and we pay lasting tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives for our Nation,” Obama said in the proclamation. “Most of all, we honor the tens of thousands of Americans who gave their lives defending a country they had never known and a people they had never met,” Obama said. “Their legacy lives on not only in the hearts of the American people, but in a Republic of Korea that is free and prosperous; an alliance that is stronger than ever before; and a world that is safer for their services.”
President Obama has issued the proclamation every year since he took office in 2009.
It really isn’t important how this day is celebrated. For those now elderly veterans that lived through the Korean War, the feeling is the same. I would think that for many of those soldiers this day is remembered with bitter sweet emotions. Sweet to go home. Bitter to leave behind those they have lost.
As of now, true celebration of this day can never be fully celebrated. With no peace treaty, the two Koreas are technically still at war. I look forward to a day when such a treaty is signed and the end of the war can finally be celebrated.
To learn more about the Korean War please visit http://www.koreanwar60.com/