Friday is the 3rd anniversary of the West Sea Naval battle: My Ideals
In June of 2002, one day before the closing ceremony of the World Cup the North Koreans tried to draw attention from all the glory South Korea had been receiving from their amazing World Cup performance by provoking a naval battle in the West Sea. The North Koreans planned for and executed a premeditated ambush of a South Korean patrol boat. In the ensueing clash six sailors were killed and 18 more were wounded.
According to newspapers The government even told the families to be quiet about the incident and sent no flag officers to attend a memorial ceremony or even offer any condolescences. Now being an American I can't even imagine any politician refusing to do this, the outcry would end the career of the politician.
While reading the Digital Chosunilbo today I came across this editorial and I hope that the people in power read and start to do something about it.
The Nation Must Remember Its Fallen Soldiers by Kang Chun-suk
It is the morning marking 55 years since the Korean War began, without a declaration of war by North Korea. Amid the rumble of cannon fire, the Korean Peoples Army led by its tanks invaded the South, leaving Southerners little time to save themselves. They say that in the 37 months of the Korean War, 4.5 million people were killed or wounded from a population of no more than 30 million Koreans -- that is 1.5 out of 10, or one member of every five-person household.
Nobody can avoid a war, and this is especially so for young men. According to statistics, about 220,000 South Korean soldiers were killed during the war. Factor in student soldiers and teenage soldiers who were given neither uniform nor rank, the number is much greater. Yet that rough statistic does a disservice to those who died. Is not the today in which we live the tomorrow those who died so young dreamed about? We have our present thanks to the futures sacrificed by those who protected the nation on the battlefield; we borrowed their futures.
Can a rough statistic capture the meaning of their death? Each individual who died in the Korean War was unique; none can be contained in a bare figure. They were young people whose hearts beat, who were the son of a mother and father, the husband of a wife, the brother of siblings.
Who can put them to rest and console their souls? That is the responsibility of the nation, the role of leaders, and the job of politicians. In East and West, from antiquity, remembering those who lost their lives defending the nation was the same as ruling the county. While extolling those who were lost, the leaders of the nation gave meaning to their deaths, reassured us that they were not in vain, and thereby united the nation. While consoling the souls of those killed, they planted the meaning of the nation in the hearts of the living.
There is a book titled Lend Me Your Ears. It starts off with a speech from 400 B.C. by the Athenian statesman Pericles eulogizing the dead of the Peloponnesian War. A few pages later there is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, praising those who fell during the Civil War. They are evidence that only leaders who know how to remember the dead can unite the living.
By listening to the speeches of presidents of this country remembering those who fell during the Korean War, did we ever earnestly feel anew how precious the nation is? Have we ever seen this nations president call the names of those who fell during the West Sea naval battle three years ago, consoling their departed souls?
Very good point about the president and the West Sea naval battles families.
To the families I offer my sympathy and my love for their brave men who died while trying to protect their country and their freedom. I weep with you today.
A famous man once said the honored words about the men who died for their countries. I hope it brings you some relief today.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate–we can not consecrate–we can not hallow–this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain–that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom–and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.