Dedication of the U.S. Monument at the U.N. Memorial Cemetery in Korea

On Sunday, July 28, 2013 the American Battle Monuments Commission dedicated the new U.S. Monument at the U.N. Memorial Cemetery in Korea.

Video Transcript: 

MASTER OF CEREMONIES TIM NOSAL: Good Morning and welcome to today’s wreath ceremony, where we will be dedicating this new Korean War Memorial in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea. I’m Tim Nosal, the director of Public Affairs for the American Battle Monuments Commission. I’ll serve as master of ceremonies for this brief, but appropriate ceremony given the nature of the site. The ceremony will be relatively short as I mentioned, fitting with the nature of the U.N. cemetery itself. We will start with a series of acknowledgements and remarks by ABMC Commissioner Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel following the commissioner we will have Chaplain Jason Knudeson, who will lead us in a short prayer, which will immediately be followed by a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps.” During the playing of “Taps” I ask that you stand and salute, or place your hand over your heart or bow your head as is your custom or service tradition. Upon completion of “Taps” the ceremony will close, and I ask that we gather around the memorial for photos. The soldiers will be playing the U.N. version of “Taps” as is the custom of the cemetery.  Ladies and gentlemen, to move the ceremony forward, I introduce Commissioner Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.

ABMC COMMISSIONER DR. BARBARALEE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGAL: A warm if wet welcome to this ceremony to dedicate the significant monument. Thank you all for joining us here today. I’m Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, a commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the U.S. government agency responsible for the design and the construction of this memorial. On its behalf, I welcome you. And on its behalf as well, the Commission would like to thank Tim Nosal for organizing every aspect of this event. Our special thanks for joining us to Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Seoul Leslie Bassett, Ambassador Carl Spielvogel former U.S. Ambassador  to the Slovak Republic, Minister Park Sung-Choon of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Ambassador Lee Kwang-jae, Custodian of the United Nations memorial Cemetery Korea, Ambassador Kim Yeon-Kwon, Busan Vice Mayor for International Affairs, Vice Admiral Jung Ho-Seop, of the ROK Navy Fleet Command, Brigadier General Stephen E. Farman, Commander 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and Chad McLeod representing the Southern Resident Office for the Far East District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and our very special thanks to all veterans from all wars especially those that are here from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

It is my privilege to honor all those responsible for the design, construction and installation of this significant monument.  Because of the dedicated and collaborative efforts of those involved, this remarkable memorial exists.  Our warmest appreciation to each and all of you. To begin with and the list is long in this collaboration, we would like to cite the Far East District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, especially Mr. Ted Song and Mr. Pak Sam-Kun who managed this project in Korea on behalf of the ABMC.   Thank you to the team of contractors who worked alongside the Army Corps of Engineers and are responsible for the on-site construction and installation of the monument including Mr. Kim Joo Y and Mr. Moon Jong-Seung, with AMKOR along with Mr. Ahn Sang-Chin, and Mr. Pak Myeong-Chae, of SUNGLIM Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.  And I’m not sure if he is present here today, but deserving special mention as well is Tyler Allen, former Director of the American Presence Post in Busan who recommended a memorial here at the U.N. cemetery. A special thank you also to Mr. Jon Yoo, the current Director of the American Presence Post, who played a central role in this project together with Mr. Byun Jung Hwan and the entire Presence Post team, whose combined efforts completed this initiative.  Our genuine appreciation to the eleven commissioners of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea and the cemetery custodian, Ambassador Lee Kwang-jae, as well as to Mr. Lay-o G. Demay, the Director for International Affairs, thank you for your assistance.

And now, most importantly, Professor Harry Robinson whose work we celebrate today.  Harry is the gifted, award-winning architect of the ABMC, former chair of the United States Commission of Fine Arts and a decorated Vietnam veteran, who designed this impressive memorial.  He is accompanied by his grandson from California, Harry Maxwell Winlock. Their presence here today adds further significance to this notable occasion. Many people have come together to initiate, construct and dedicate this very fine memorial.  Our deepest appreciation to all involved, including any that may have been omitted unintentionally. We gather here to honor the memory of the American, Korean and U.N. troops who fought so bravely during the Korean War and to pay tribute to the bravery and heroism of the many thousands who gave their lives.  Especially, our American brothers and sisters who served in the Korean War.  This memorial is dedicated to their valor.

The American Battle Monuments Commission is the guardian of America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials.  It is our mission to honor the achievements and sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces.  Since 1923, we have executed this mission by following the promise of our first Chairman, General of the Armies John J. Pershing, who said “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.” There are 24 ABMC cemeteries outside the United States, which serve as final resting places for more than 131,000 Americans.  We also memorialize nearly 94,000 Americans missing in action, lost at sea, or buried at sea. In addition to the cemeteries we maintain 25 monuments, memorials and markers across the globe. The memorial we dedicate today, our 26th, is the first by the ABMC outside the United States in more than 21 years.  Here is the third memorial created by ABMC commemorating the Korean War.  The first is situated in Honolulu at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii, which tells the story of America’s 20th century efforts in the Pacific.  That memorial was dedicated in 1966.  The second is the Korean War Veterans memorial in Washington D.C., which was dedicated in 1995 and was the site of the very important ceremony led by President Obama yesterday. 5,720,000 Americans served in the military during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.  36,574 died in Korea.  Of those who lost their lives 8,195 are listed as missing in action.  Their names are engraved in the Korean War Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. The remains of 250 of those individuals have since been located and identified – part of a U.S. national effort to account for all Americans who remain missing in action. 

It is our profound wish that many more will be found and identified in the hope of providing some solace and peace to their families.It is to honor all Americans who served in the Korean War that we dedicate this memorial today.  It is to remember and to reflect on the values each and every one of them who served in that war stood for and continues to stand for - Honor, Freedom and Peace – these values are inscribed on this new United States Korean War Memorial that we dedicate here today in keeping with General Pershing’s promise that “time will not dim the glory of their deeds.” Thank you all for joining us here today.

TIM NOSAL: At this time, we’ll go ahead and present wreaths. And before the Commissioner sits down, we will begin with her. On behalf of the American Battle Monuments Commission will present a wreath by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel.
On behalf of the Ministry of Patriotism and Veteran’s Affairs Minister Park Sung-choon.
On behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Korea District Acting Commander Ernest W. Lee.
On behalf of the American Embassy in Seoul The Deputy Chief of Mission, Leslie Bassett.
On behalf of the city of Busan, Busan Vice Mayor for International Affairs, Ambassador Kim Yeon-Kwon.
On behalf of the Republic of Korea, Navy Fleet Command, Vice Admiral Jung Ho-seop.
On behalf of 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Commanding Officer  Brigadier General Stephen E. Farmen.
On behalf of   Far East District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Chad McLeod.
On behalf of U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Army’s 837th Transportation Battalion in Busan Commander Thomas E. Plott and Lt. Col. Christopher Abbott.
On behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Mujuk, Lt. Col. Richard E. Walker III.
Ladies and gentleman, I will now introduce Air Force Chaplain Capt. Jason Knudeson who will lead us in a short prayer, which will be followed by a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps.”

AIR FORCE CHAPLAIN CAPT. JASON KNUDESON: I invite you to pray with me. Almighty and loving God our hearts are united today as we gather to honor the living, remember the fallen and ask for your continued gracious healing in our lives. We are reminded that nearly two million Americans left their homes and families to serve in a land far away. This was a land of a humble and honorable people. Boys and girls. Men and women, who simply desired the God-ordained essentials of honor, freedom and peace. Our casualties were severe with over 36,000 dying and even today still more than 8,000 are unaccounted for. We are so grateful for those who served with honor and courage to make freedom a reality and peace possible. And so today it is fitting that we would have this witness stone before us to testify to the rock-solid determination in pursuit of peace of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. We also remember the many Allied nations who sent their young men to defend this great nation. Through their sacrificial supply of combat units, and medical and material support, countless lives were saved. We are honored to have many of these peace-loving nations represented among us today and we humbly ask for your blessing on each. We remember the many families who gave up their loved ones in this war. They have lost that which cannot be returned and we humbly ask for your gentle healing and ever-present peace to lead them onward. History bears witness to many other nations and peoples who have established ceremonial stones to specifically mark events that should never be forgotten. When our people ask “What does this stone mean?” May we be quick to tell of the ultimate sacrifices that were given on their behalf. And Lord we would be remiss if we did not remember the many lives only 300 miles to our north who still long for true freedom and peace. May this stone not only remind us of our past and encourage us in our growing friendships today, but may be a sign of hope for the future, where we look forward to a united Korea, where honor, freedom, peace and unity abounds. Gracious and loving God in your most sacred and holy name we dedicate this stone and ourselves to you. Be glorified in us, and in this dedication we pray…Amen.       

[Playing of “Taps”]

TIM NOSAL: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the ceremony. Thank you for attending today. Please remain in the area for photographs at the memorial.

[Music playing]