WASHINGTON -- A new Korean War monument was dedicated in Washington on Wednesday, permanently displaying the names of over 43,000 US and South Korean service members killed during the war.
The dedication of the Wall of Remembrance was marked by a ceremony attended by some 3,000 people, including government officials, Korean War veterans and their families and many others from both South Korea and the United States.
The wall features the names of 36,634 US troops and 7,174 members of the Korean Augmentation Troops to the US Army (KATUSA).
"The Wall of Remembrance was designed to be a monument that represents the solidity of the South Korea-US alliance by honoring US soldiers, along with South Korean members of KATUSA killed in battle," South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said in congratulatory remarks, read by Veterans Affairs Minister Park Min-shik on his behalf at the ceremony.
"It will forever be remembered by those from the US and the rest of the world visiting here as a place of peace and monument that shows the history of the Korean War," Yoon added.
The dedication of the newest Korean War monument on the National Mall came after 16 months of construction work that cost some $21 million, most of which was funded by the South Korean government.
US President Joe Biden had been anticipated to personally take part in the dedication ceremony, but was unable to as he was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last week.
Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, joined the ceremony on Biden's behalf, along with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
"Today, such an important day, we commemorate the sacrifice those Americans and Koreans who bravely fought together side by side to defend our freedom, laying the foundation for a thriving democratic Republic of Korea and a strong, unbreakable United States-Republic of Korea alliance," the second gentleman told the ceremony, referring to South Korea by its official name.
"It's a poignant reminder of the individual sacrifices of the more than 36,000 US service members and more than 7,000 Korean troops who served together and died together in Korea," Emhoff said of the Wall of Remembrance.
"Their names are now forever engraved here on our incredible Washington Mall."
The dedication ceremony was also attended by representatives from many top South Korean businesses, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, that have made significant donations not only for the construction of the latest addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington but also for its upkeep over the years.
The wall was first unveiled to Korean War veterans and the families of the fallen on Tuesday, the eve of the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 war.
"For the families of the fallen, we hope that having their loved one's name displayed among their brothers in arms on the Wall of Remembrance brings them a sense of peace and will forever recognize that 'Freedom Is Not Free,'" Gen. John Tilelli (Ret.), chairman of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, said in an earlier interview with Yonhap. (Yonhap)