September 24, 2021. As summer ends and the lead-up to Remembrance Week begins, various events that honour our military veterans occur, and we were delighted to be able to participate in one special luncheon a few days ago….
On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea hosted a luncheon for Korean War Veterans. The event was organized by PEI Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, and held at the Borden-Carleton Legion.
Branch volunteers prepared a delicious roast beef dinner for the honoured guests.
….The Korean Delegation…
Representing the Embassy of the Republic of Korea were Col. Keun-sik MOON, the Defence Attaché, his wife Sun-ok BAN, and So-sun SUH, Assistant to the Defence Attaché.
….The Korean War Veterans…
Korean War Veterans present were:
- Arthur ‘Art’ HISCOCK of Summerside.
- Victor ‘Vic’ MACFADYEN, formerly of Canoe Cove and now living in Cornwall.
- Elwin SHERREN, formerly of Crapaud and now living in Cornwall.
- Blaine TAYLOR of Burlington.
- David VESSEY of Summerside.
….The Royal Canadian Legion Members…
Representing the Royal Canadian Legion from PEI Command were Provincial President Duane MacEwen, with his wife Ann, and Chairperson/Public Relations officer John Yeo, with his wife Norma. The Borden-Carleton Branch was represented by Mario Henry, Sgt at Arms, and Pieter Valkenburg, Public Relations Officer.
The Korean War was a conflict fought between North and South Korea from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. Unfortunately, it has yet to be resolved. During the welcome and greetings, John Yeo noted that “…it took a long time for the Canadian government to recognize Korean vets….” He explained that “…a dedicated monument was unveiled in Ottawa on September 28, 2003…”
…Remarks by Col. Keun-sik Moon…
The Korean hosts told us that September 21, 2021 was Korean Thanksgiving, called ‘Chuseok’, a harvest festival. This three-day holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar on the full moon. Therefore, the date of the luncheon was particularly appropriate.
Col. Moon explained that he was “…here to express our gratitude to the veterans and their families, on behalf of the government and people of the Republic of Korea...”
Addressing the veterans, he continued. “…70 years ago, under the banner of the United Nations, more than 26,000 Canadians bravely fought communism in distant Korea. What made you take on this journey was your mission to protect the noble cause of freedom and peace and great humanitarianism…. Thanks to your sacrifice, Korea now enjoys freedom and economic prosperity…”
Giving a brief summary of 1950s era Korea, Col. Moon told us that “…in 1950 Korea was a very poor, agrarian nation, where the fields were ploughed by oxen, the rice planted and reaped by hand, and where millions lived in small huts…”
He assured the veterans that “…your blood shed in an unknown land and the tears of your families who endured the pains and grief from missing family were never in vain….” Because of the peace that followed the conflict, “…the Republic of Korea has achieved economic development and democratization….I sincerely hope the day will come when the veterans will see a peacefully reunified Republic of Korea…”
Following the lunch and speeches, the Korean hosts surprised and charmed us by singing two songs: ‘Amazing Grace’ in English, and ‘Arirang’, a Korean folk song that speaks about leaving, reunion, sorrow, joy, and happiness.
…A Wreath Is Laid …
The official events over, and after gifts were presented to the veterans, everyone moved outside for the wreath laying ceremony by the Cenotaph.
The luncheon and remembrance of their service was appreciated by the veterans and their family members. Kudos go to the Borden-Carleton Legion, PEI Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea for organizing this event.
Pieter encourages blog readers to contact him if they have a story to share about Canadians who served. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on the blog, or send a tweet to @researchmemori1.
© Daria Valkenburg