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Tears of a Greek veteran of the Korean War

Posted December. 05, 2013 08:01,   


Greek President Carlos Papoulias currently in Korea as state guest had a dinner Wednesday with President Park Geun-hye at the Presidential Office. President Park offered a toast when the dinner was coming to an end.

Park said, "When I visited Greece as special envoy last time, I met war veterans of the Korean War there. I had met Chairman Stylianos Drakos and Vice Chairman Akrivos Tsolakis of the Korean War Veterans Association in Greece, both of whom are here today. I`m very impressed to hear them say Korea is their second home country. I would like to offer a toast to our two guests."

The two people walked up to President Park and made a toast. Vice Chairman Tsolakis said, "I was going to remain silent during my visit to Korea this time. But if I had to say something, I was going to say this." He shed tears after listing in Korean language "Baekryeong Island, 38th parallel, Gimpo airport, Daegu, Suwon, Gunsan, Jo Island, Busan, Jinhae and Jeju Island."

Chairman Drakos said, "This is my country. This is my last visit to Korea," adding, "I`m so proud of the Republic of Korea`s democracy, prosperity and strong family ties. I feel pride in that this is the result of the sacrifices of young Greek people." The two people hugged each other and dinner party attendants showed appreciation by applauding. Many attendants shed tears at this scene. The chairman`s grandson gained scholarship from the Korea War Memorial Foundation and says he wants to study in Korea.

Greece dispatched 10,581 soldiers to Korean War with 186 dying and 610 injured. Geek population had stood at around 7 million back then. It is the first Korea visit for a Greek president. President Papoulias visited Korea on a private aircraft this time after he had to sell presidential plane due to economic crisis. His aides came by using economy class. An official at the Presidential Office said, "Greece is far away from Korea geographically, but I feel sad to see a nation that supported us being in a difficult situation."