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2 Family-less Vets to Be Buried at Nat`l Cemetery

Posted May. 29, 2010 09:54,   


An official from the Gwangju office of the Patriots and Veterans Affairs Ministry and seven other people took out the remains of war veterans Kim Mu-young and Paek Song-kyun at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The remains were wrapped in a cloth with the Korean national flag and taken to an incense-burning altar. The eight people burned incense and paid their respects to the deceased.

Kim was a Korean War veteran who married after the war ended. His wife died soon afterward without bearing a child. Kim did not remarry and died at age 77 in October 2007 at a Gwangju nursing home.

Paek was a Vietnam War veteran who received long-term treatment for mental problems. He could not get married because of his condition and died with no family at age 63 in January 2008.

The Gwangju office learned of the two men’s stories in March after no one claimed the 150,000 won (126 U.S. dollars) in a state funeral subsidy paid to war veterans.

“After learning of their stories, we decided to take their remains to a national cemetery in the belief that we should abandon no veterans,” said the head of the Gwangju office, Chang Kap-su.

Kim and Paek are the first veterans without family whose remains were taken to a national cemetery. Their remains will be temporarily placed at the National Cemetery in Imsil, North Jeolla Province, Thursday afternoon before burial June 22.

Park Chun-sun, 75, a distant relative of Kim, said his relatives are relieved to see him finally buried at the national cemetery after his suffering from war wounds and the lack of relatives to remember him.