Address to the Korean War
At The 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Commemoration
Dearborn, Michigan, July 27, 2003
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the armistice in the Korean
peninsula. It is highly significant that this historical event is
commemorated jointly in Michigan by the organizations of the Korean
War veterans and Korean-Americans.
The Korean War means many things to many people. To Korean people,
it was a war for freedom therefore it left an indelible impression
to the Korean people that the freedom is not free.
The Korean War was a fratricidal war between the South and North
Koreas that effectively and completely devastated the land with two
million deaths at the end of the three year conflict. It
institutionalized the division of the peninsula in the last half
century resulting in an untold amount of sadness and hardship for
those millions of separated families.
The Korean War unfortunately, helped to perpetuate the enmity,
mistrust and hostility between the people of North and South in the
past fifty years, mitigating possibility of reconciliation and
reunification of the country especially when the collapse of the
cold war and attendant dismissal of the ideological schism became a
The Korean War brought together two great people of the world across
the Pacific, Americans and Koreans. They were true comrade-in arms
in the fight against invading communist armies and successful
protection of the South Korean freedom which subsequently ensured
the emergence of the Republic of Korea as a bulwark of democracy and
a shining example of the success of the global free market economy.
The friendship between the two people and deep gratitude Koreans
feel toward the American help and the remembrance of the 37,000
fallen U.S. soldiers, along with the names of the battlefields where
they fought together, such as, "Iron Triangle", "Pork Chop Hill",
"White Horse", "Arrowhead", "T-Bone", etc., will be forever
enshrined in the minds of the Korean people in generations to come.
It is therefore fitting that this commemorative event in Michigan is
being held jointly between the Korean War Veterans and
Korean-American community, and furthermore, it features a major
exhibit of the work of a Korean artist Kim, Hyung Joo, one of the
post-war generation Koreans, whose work has been widely acclaimed
and characterized as uniquely representing the "Spirit of Korea." In
the exhibit, human life cycle depicting the beginning of the life,
the Birth and the end of life, the Death will be the focus.
Utilizing various traditional and nontraditional formats of the
oriental art, the exhibit hall will be subtly divided into space of
Life and space of Death. Paintings, fiber arts, video images will be
presented accompanied by the lights and music, with final and
over-all effect of the "Spirit of Korea."
Moon J. Pak, M.D.
The 50th Korean War Armistice Commemoration of Michigan