Two Koreas, U.S. Celebrate Anniversary of Korean War Armistice


North and South Korea on Monday commemorated the 62nd anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, with colorful celebrations that mirrored each side’s political stances. The United States also observed the anniversary with a presidential proclamation that officially marked July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

Early Monday, Seoul hosted a ceremony with Korean War veterans, active-duty soldiers, government officials and citizens. Descendants of United Nations soldiers carried their national flags and colorful signs at the event.

descendants(Photo via Yonhap)

In his commemorative speech, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn promised veterans that South Korea will do its best to honor the spirits of their fallen comrades.

“South Korea’s economic development was something unimaginable when the cease-fire was signed. Your noble sacrifices made the foundation for Korea’s advancements,” said Hwang, according to the Korea Herald. “The Republic of Korea government and our citizens will do our best to honor your sacrifices.”

The U.N. Command also held a separate ceremony at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeon later in the day.

In Washington, three U.S. House Representatives introduced a resolution on the anniversary to formally end the Korean War on behalf of Korean veterans who seek closure, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“It has been 65 years since the start of this war, yet there is lingering pain because it has never officially ended,” said U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), the lead sponsor of the resolution. “The best thing we can do to honor the sacrifices of the Korean War veterans and the Korean people is to help bring about final closure to this painful chapter in history and help efforts to unite the divided Peninsula.”

Rangel was joined by fellow sponsors Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) when the announcement was made.

With the new resolution, the House aims to call “upon the international community to support the vision of a unified Korea and assist efforts to promote international peace and security, denuclearization, economic prosperity, human rights, and the rule of law both on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.”

Meanwhile in North Korea, the anniversary of the armistice agreement was hailed as “Victory Day” over the U.S. troops and its U.N. allies, according to the Associated Press.

“Gone forever is the era when the United States blackmailed us with nukes; now the United States is no longer a source of threat and fear for us and we are the very source of fear for it,” Kim Jong Un said in a televised speech.

AP also reported that Korean People’s Army Gen. Pak Yong Sik attended a meeting held Sunday with officials in Pyongyang and said: “The past Korean War brought about the beginning of the downhill turn for the U.S., but the second Korean war will bring the final ruin to U.S. imperialism.”

He added that if the U.S. provokes war, then North Korea will be ready to fight until “there would be no one left to sign a surrender document.”

Despite the conflict spanning multiple decades with North Korea, U.S. representatives hope their resolution passes.

“As veterans of the Korean War, we put forward this resolution to honor those who have suffered over the last 70 years and to present a vision for peaceful reunification under principles of human rights, rule of law, denuclearization, and economic cooperation,” Conyers said, Yonhap reported.


Featured image by Austin Kirk/Flickr

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