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Events Mark 60th Anniversary of Allied Recapture of Seoul

Events Mark 60th Anniversary of Allied Recapture of Seoul

Posted September. 29, 2010 16:09,   


Fighter jets flying in formation and street marching by soldiers captured the public`s eye in Seoul Tuesday.

A ceremony and street march to mark the 60th anniversary of the Allied recapture of Seoul in the Korean War and the 62nd annual Armed Forces Day took place in the plaza in front of the traditional gate Heungryemun of Gyeongbok Palace and around the traditional gate Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul Tuesday.

When a group of motorcyclists from the armed forces took the lead and flags of all military units appeared, a performance by a military band for countries that participated in the Korean War and honorary guards followed to hearty applause.

While marching on the streets, fighters and U.S. helicopters flew in the sky. For this event, the Korean Air Force deployed 30 fighters including the F-15K, T-50 and KF-16. The flight on Armed Forces Day in downtown Seoul was the third since the 50th anniversary of the Air Force in 1999 and the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Korea in 2008.

The Black Eagles, a flight demonstration team under the Air Force, appeared in the air show with four newly designed T-50Bs. Four white T-50s also flew in formation.

Some 5,000 people attended the event including President Lee Myung-bak, senior brass including Ret. Gen. Baek Seon-yeop, government representatives and diplomatic delegations from countries that participated in the war, and members of Korean political parties.

President Lee stressed the necessity of military reform in a speech, saying, “Our military should be born again as a true, advanced and global military.”

"The military should continue its faithful duty of defending the country. Please be reborn as a true military."

With the sinking of the Cheonan apparently in mind, he said, “Despite good organization, weapons and a properly organized strategic plan, we failed to respond speedily and systematically in times of emergency and paid little attention to a provocation by asymmetrical forces. We need to renovate the armed forces through drastic reform.”

He also stressed the true spirit of a soldier, saying, “Please faithfully fulfill your duty of national defense.”

“The military should be able to help young people who dare to challenge and bring results exert their talent and energy, and should be a place where young people are willing to come beyond just finishing their military duty.”

After the ceremony, President Lee hosted a luncheon for government representatives from 16 countries that participated in the Korean War at the presidential office. Attendees included U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, British Minister for Defense Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan, and Dutch Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop.

srkim@donga.com jmpark@donga.com