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Nation to Salute Korean War Veterans During July Armistice Commemoration

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2003 – America will honor Korean War Veterans July 25- 27 in a national salute here that includes a ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial and a musical program at the MCI Center.

On July 27, 50 years ago, the United States and 21 other U.N. member nations signed an armistice that ended three years of fighting with communist forces and ended the Korean War. After returning home, many service members never talked about their experiences. The world seemed to forget the war happened, or at least, did not realize the impact it had on communist aggression.

The Department of Defense has been sponsoring events nationwide to honor and thank Korean War veterans and family members for their sacrifice and service to their country. The DoD 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee kicked off their events with a ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial June 25, 2000, marking the 50th anniversary of the day North Korean military forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea.

Currently scheduled events include a wreath-laying and memorial ceremony at 10 a.m. July 26 at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington. At 4:30 that afternoon, the National Salute to Korean War Veterans will be held at the MCI Center in Washington. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. July 27 at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.

The MCI Center event will include musical performances by military and celebrity artists, guest speakers and a parade of unit colors from all five branches of the U.S. military and the 21 other nations that participated under the U.N. Command during the war. This parade of colors will mark the first time all the colors of the major units from the Korean War have been brought together, event planners said.

Since the commemoration began in 2000, the committee has sponsored more than 100 events in every region of the United States. Hundreds of smaller, local events have been sponsored by the commemoration partners, which include more than 10,000 cities, states, schools, businesses and other organizations nationwide, committee officials said.

"The support the people of this country have provided us to thank and honor Korean War veterans has been tremendous," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Nels Running, executive director of the commemoration committee. "This three- day event in Washington, D.C., will be a great opportunity for the nation to take the time to recognize the 1.8 million Korean War veterans who stopped communist aggression in its tracks and preserved the freedom of the Republic of South Korea."

All Korean War veterans, family members, next of kin and the public are invited to attend the events. Below are just two events in March leading up to the July commemoration.

There will be a regional Joint Service Commemoration at 2 p.m. March 8 at La Villita Assembly Hall in San Antonio, Texas. During this event, the consul of the Republic of Korea from Houston will award his country's Korean War Service Medal to American Korean War veterans representing each of the five U.S. military services.

The Korean service medals will be presented in the Great Lakes Joint Service Commemoration at 10 a.m. March 22 at Macomb Sports Expo Center in Warren, Mich. During this event. Canadian veterans will also attend and be honored at this event.

Korean War veterans will be special guests of Maj. Gen. James T. Jackson, commanding general of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, at the Twilight Tattoo at 7 p.m. June 25 at the Ellipse in Washington. A Korean War veteran will be the parade reviewing official at the event.

For more information about the Korean War or any of the coming events, call the commemoration committee toll-free at 1-866-KOREA50 or visit the official department Web site at www.korea50.mil.

(From a DoD 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee news release.)

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