South Korea’s rise from devastation to its current status as the world’s 15th largest economy was a dominant theme of a reception held in Atlanta June 29 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
Hae Jin Chun, Korea’s consul general in Atlanta, referred to his country’s economic ascent from “total devastation and hopeless poverty” as “a miracle of history.”
Gov. Sonny Perdue; Robert McCubbins, president of the Korean War Veterans Association, Georgia chapter and Jay Eun, president of the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta, all referred to Korea’s economic success.
“With determination and hard work by the Korean people, along with aid from the U.S. and the international community, a miracle of history began to take shape,” Mr. Chun said.
In addition to its status as an economic power, he referred to Korea’s membership in the United Nations and to its appointment as chair of the G20 Summit 2010 to be held in Seoul, Korea, in November.
The sacrifice of both U.S. and Korean soldiers was honored as providing the foundation for Korea’s economic rise. The invasion in the early morning hours of June 25, 1950, brought the country “to the brink of extinction,” Mr. Chun said.
The defense of the Republic of Korea “during a time of greatest hardship and despair” by the U.S. and 15 other nations, however, “served as a foundation for us to regain hope, and for that, we have been and always will be grateful,” he added.
Mr. Chun also said that over the three years of fighting nearly 37,000 American soldiers lost their lives, including 740 from Georgia.
Mr. McCubbins, who represents 92 Korean War veterans in the association’s Georgia chapter, cited the number of U.S. soldiers killed, adding that many more Koreans were killed in the war.
Most of the chapter members are in their 80s and some 40 are active members. Many of the active members along with their families and friends, members of Georgia’s Korean-American communities and local officials and business representatives attended the ceremony held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.
Mr. McCubbins said that the Georgia chapter is named after Gen. Raymond Davis, a four star Marine general from Fitzgerald, who fought in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in helping to save hundreds of trapped Marines during the 1950 battle of Chosin Reservoir while commanding the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. Mr. Davis died in 2003.
Mr. Perdue stressed South Korea’s development in comparison to that of North Korea. He also praised the Korean-Americans living in Georgia for “elevating the quality of life” in the state.
Mr. Eun said that although the Korean War has been called “the forgotten war,” it wasn’t as demonstrated by this and many other commemorations. A film then was shown reviewing the war and including comments of gratitude and friendship from Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak.
The event concluded with a performance in the center’s main hall by the Little Angels, a children’s folk ballet supported by the Korean government that is touring the United Nations countries that defended Korea during the war.
To learn more about the Little Angels, go to http://www.kw60project.com/aboutla.html