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Dedication of Meaningful Korean War Monument
Date 2005-05-24 오후 9:55:15 View 4284
-Heungnam Evacuation Monument will be Unveiled on May 27th at Korean War Refugees` Camp Site in Geoje Island-
-About 1,500 People will take part in the International Event-

*The ceremony will be held in the Historical Park of Geoje Korean War Prisoner of War and Refugees` Camp on May 27th, 2005.
*It will honor the significance of the operation and all those who were involved in the rescue. This event will not only solidify the alliance between Korea and the United States, but also promote cooperation and friendship among United Nations allied countries of the Korean War.

The Dedication Ceremony of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation will be held in the Historical Park of Geoje Korean War Prisoners` and Refugees` Camp on the occasion of the 55th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The ceremony cohosted by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, the Commemoration Association of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation, and Geoje city will honor and remember the humanitarian spirit of the operation that is regarded as one of the most inspiring and miraculous rescue operations in war history of the world.

About 1,500 will attend the ceremony including Park, Yu-chul, Ph. D. Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, ambassadors of the 22 nations that participated in the Korean War, General Leon J. LaPorte, Commander, UNC, CFC, USFK, retired general Paik Sun Yup, former Chief of Staffs of the Korean Army who is representative of Korean War veterans, American veterans who were engaged in the Heungnam operation and their families, heads of the Patriots and Veterans Associations, Korean War veterans, and members of the Hamkyeung Province Association. Highlights of the ceremony include Korean traditional honor guard`s demonstration, video clip on the Heungnam evacuation operation, speech, unveiling of the monument and reception.

The ceremony is expected to honor the noble sacrifice and commitment of the Korean War veterans who fought with South Korea under the UN flag to safeguard freedom, peace and democracy of the Korean peninsula. And it also will further enhance friendship and cooperation of the 22 nations that participated in the Korean War, and nurture patriotism of the Korean people. In order to promote the significance of the Heungnam Evacuation Operation, the MPVA does its best to make the ceremony an international event that gathers the Korean Veterans and representatives from the 22 nations.

The evacuation of Heungnam was the largest sealift that saved 197 vessels, over a hundred-thousand military personnel, some 98,000 North Korean refugees, about 17,520 vehicles and 350,000 measurement tons of cargo when the Korean armed forces and the UN forces were besieged by the Chinese army in the eastern North Korea, in November, 1950. The SS Meredith Victory in the operation pulled out the military and North Korean refugees through the Heungnam port, and safely arrived in the Jangseungpo port, Geoje Island, South Korea. The Heungnam Evacuation Operation that successfully completed this daring rescue of 14,000 North Korean refugees is remembered as one of the most humanitarian rescue operations and as `Largest rescue operation by a single ship` in war history of the world. And Captain Leonard P. LaRue of the Meredith Victory received "Ulji Order of Military Merit", the second highest military decoration from the Korean government in 1955.

The MPVA invites American veterans who played a leading role in the operation, and the SS Meredith Victory crews to the ceremony. Among them, Mr. Hiroshi H. Miyamura is one of recipients of Congressional Medal of Honor for his conspicuous intrepidity to cover an operation despite his painful wounds, and J. Robert Lunney who was a Staff Officer of the SS Meredith Victory is now working as a lawyer in New York.

The Monument is erected as part of the MPVA`s effort to support the construction of Korean War monuments. With about 1.8billion won including government expense of the MPVA, local government of Geoje city`s expenses, and donation by commemoration associations spent for the construction, the monument was completed in about one and half year since its ground-breaking ceremony on Dec. 26th, 2003.

The memorial includes a monument with the SS Meredith Victory and General Douglas MacArthur`s face carved on it, mural relievo that explains the merit of those involved in the rescue operation, and Lawn Plaza symbolizing open sea.

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Kim, cheeho(Internaional affairs)
kimcheeho@yahoo.com
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