Remembering the Korean War 59 Years Later

The Korean War, which began June 25, 1950, with the North Korean army’s invasion of South Korea, officially ended July 27, 1953 – a day now officially recognized as Armistice Day.  The signing marked the end of the longest negotiated armistice in history: 158 meetings spread over two years and 17 days. At 10 a.m. that day, in Panmunjom, 18 official copies of the tri-language Korean Armistice Agreement were signed.

Korean War Armistice Day Wreath-Laying

A member of the honor guard brings a wreath to Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta during a ceremony at the 59th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheatre, July 26, 2012. DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo (Released)

“Some 60 years ago, a generation of Americans stepped forward to serve in Korea in defense of those in need of protection and to safeguard this great country,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta  said today after a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “Our country is indebted to them – to you, for your service and your sacrifice. Sixty years ago, the bugles sounded and you helped strengthen this country for 60 years. America will never forget you.”

“Today, I’m so honored to speak among many of those who shed that blood and made those sacrifices that built this great alliance,” Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James Winnefeld Jr. said at the Arlington National Cemetery commemoration. “Indeed, on this anniversary of the Korean War armistice, we honor the legacy of the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”

President Barack Obama released a proclamation today for Armistice Day:

Sixty-two years ago, the Communist invasion of the Republic of Korea summoned a generation of Americans to serve. From the landings at Inchon to the Pusan Perimeter, from Heartbreak Ridge to Chosin Reservoir, our forces fought with immeasurable courage in one of the defining moments of the Cold War. Today, on the 59th anniversary of the Military Armistice Agreement signed at Panmunjom, we honor all who served in the Korean War, and we pay lasting tribute to the brave men and women who gave their lives for our Nation.

Click here for a series of Korean War-related videos on YouTube.

Click here to visit the American Forces Press Service’s Armistice Day News Special on Defense.gov.

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