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Remembering heroes of the Korean War

Young people applaud a Korean War veteran at the War Memorial of Korea last week. (Josephine Yein Lee/YJI)

Seoul, South Korea – It was dawn on June 25, 1950, when North Korean troops began marching across the demilitarized zone. There were whirling noises of machinery.

Alarmed, the nation of South Korea quickly began to fight back against the sudden unexpected attack from its neighbor.

North Korea wanted war, so South Korea gave them one and the Korean War began.

After three years of this devastating war, 2.5 million people had perished, according to Brittanica.

Now, 71 years later after a temporary armistice, South Korea continues to commemorate our lost heroes. 

Messages of gratitude penned by youth and adults to war veterans recently collected at the War Memorial of Korea. (Josephine Yein Lee/YJI)

Last week, South Koreans commemorated the soldiers lost about seven decades ago. The government here continues to stress the idea of re-living the memories of our heroes, primarily through museums, memorials, and educating the young to ensure that the Korean war and the veterans will never be forgotten.

South Koreans are thankful to all of the 16 countries that provided troops and other support during the war.

Even though the number of surviving veterans is slowly decreasing, we continue to honor these heroes who sacrificed their lives to save South Korea, including those who sacrificed their lives to a country they didn’t even know existed. 

This year, North Korea has been shooting missiles on the coast of South Korea or near South Korean waters. Many of my fellow citizens are assuming that North Korea will attack South Korea, possibly in five years.

But when an ordinary South Korean civilian is asked if they are worried about the war, they reply with a simple ‘no.’

Still, the idea of another war scares many. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly true that North Korea still remains a Communist country, meaning development rates are low compared to South Korea, a modern democracy.

Inside the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul. (Josephine Yein Lee/YJI)

The Korean war was absolutely devastating to all of us, so we continue to honor and remember our heroes. 

South Korea has been preparing for the next round of war for the last 40 years. Even though we wish for a peaceful world between our two countries, there is a possibility we will have to face another round of tragedy and horror. 

Josephine Yein Lee is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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