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The 20th anniversary of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong takes place

The 20th anniversary of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong takes place

Posted June. 30, 2022 08:13,   

Updated June. 30, 2022 08:13


The South Korean military officially announced the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong as a victory and stated that they will take responsibility of the six crewmen killed in the battle including Commander Yoon Yeong-ha, Master Sergeant Han Sang-guk, and Jo Cheon-hyung, Staff Sergeant Hwang Do-hyeon and Seo Hu-won, and Sergeant Park Dong-hyeok and the bereaved until the end. Until present, the military did not use the expression‎ victory for the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong ceremony. The Monument for the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong at the Second Fleet Command shall be replaced to the Monument for Victory in the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong after repair works.

Attendees of the ceremony South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop, the bereaved family of those killed in the battle, and military personnel paid tribute to the six heroes who sacrificed their lives 20 years ago to protect the NLL in the West Sea. The leader of the People’s Power Lee Jun-seok and 2nd Deputy Director of Office of National Security Shin In-ho also took part. President of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol who is away to the NATO Summit sent condolence flowers.

After offering flowers and incense burning, the family of the deceased moved to the back of the monument and touched the engraved faces of the six heroes. Im Hyun-sun, the mother of Master Sergeant Jo Cheon-hyeong, shed tears saying, “You’d probably not be aware that I am here” while touching her son’s engraved face with both hands, which made the people around so sad. As Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop’s eyes reddened, he told the mother, “He will not be forgotten. We will remember him forever.”

“It’s been already 20 years, but I miss my son even more, and it feels like I am hearing the six heroes’ voices,” said the bereaved family association leader Mr. Seo Young-suk, father of Staff Sergeant Seo Hu-won. “Thanks to the military personnel and civilian workers in the military, I can lead a peaceful life and work for my living. I am so proud of you” as an encouragement to the junior military.

In the commemorative speech, Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop called out the names of the six heroes. “Their sublime sacrifices will live in our minds but also in the history of South Korea forever,” the minister said. “The government will push for an amendment of related regulations to support various salary and respectful treatments according to the posthumous honors and promoted ranks.“

After the ceremony, the bereaved family and the military personnel who participated in the battle rode the guided missile patrol gunboat named after the six heroes to the vicinity sea of Poongdo Island and paid marine tribute by laying chrysanthemum to the sea and sprinkling alcohol.

Second Battle of Yeonpyeong was triggered June 29, 2002 during the Japan and South Korean World Cup season when two North Korean patrol boats crossed the West Sea NLL and staged a surprise attack on the South Korean high-speed patrol boat Chamsuri 357. With this North Korean attack, five crew members including Commander Yoon Yeong-ha were killed in action, and Sergeant Park Dong-hyeok was seriously injured and passed away while being treated in hospital. The South Korean navy’s immediate retaliation resulted in about 30 casualties from North Korean military and the North Korean patrol boat fled in flames.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com