The Consulate General of Korea in Atlanta has once again donated 10,000 medical masks to Korean War veterans in Georgia, offering what it said was a small token of appreciation for their sacrifice in defending the country.
“The Korean War is not a forgotten war. We strive to remember the 757 Georgians who lost their lives during the Korean War,” Consul General Young-jun Kim said in a small ceremony presenting the mask donation to the Georgia Department of Veterans Service.
The gesture was all the more important given the cancellation of in-person commemorations over the last year due to COVID-19 distancing guidelines, Mr. Kim said. The masks were of the KN94 variety, a Korea-made disposable mask with efficacy in blocking viral particles similar to an N95.
Veterans Service Commissioner Mike Roby was on hand to accept the donation at the Floyd Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Atlanta March 9.
The consulate’s donation was not an isolated gesture of goodwill; it came from the highest level in Korea. The central government set aside 1 million masks last year, along with hand sanitizer, to be donated to veterans organizations. This year it doubled that number to 2 million, with Korea having largely contained COVID-19 and the U.S. still facing a very active pandemic despite the increasing administration of vaccines.
Mr. Kim presented a letter to veterans of the 22 United Nations “sending states” from the Korean prime minister to Mr. Roby.
“Although the masks are miserable compared with such sacrifice and contributions, I hope that they will help you in dealing with the current pandemic. Korea will continue to remember and honor all the UN veterans of the Korean War for their sacrifice and contributions and to maintain its ties with the UN veterans’ descendants,” reads a translation of the letter from Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun. It later adds: “As we got together to overcome difficulties 70 years ago, we will be able to overcome the current COVID-19 crisis if we stand together.”