Hundreds of residents, veterans, families, visitors from Korea, and local leaders dedicated the new Orange County Korean War Memorial, located at Hillcrest Park in Fullerton on Veteran’s Day, November 11.
“Today we are proud to dedicate the Korean War Memorial in honor of the 36,591 brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice during the Korean War with each person’s name inscribed on the five-star panels by each state,” James Soo Ro, President of the Orange County Korean War Memorial Committee, said. “The Republic of Korea owes a great deal of gratitude to the young American soldiers who have given their lives to protect and defend the freedom and democracy of its country.”
Both US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in submitted letters recognizing the significance of this memorial, the only one in the United States that includes the names of all US soldiers killed in the Korean War.
Many local representatives, from Mayors to Congressmembers, gave remarks at the ceremony.
“The Korean War has been deemed ‘the forgotten war.’ Now with this wonderful monument in Fullerton, it is forgotten no more,” Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker said. “It’s fitting and proper that this monument be located in Fullerton. Among medium-sized cities, Fullerton has the largest population of Korean Americans in the US.”
Prior to the unveiling of the memorial, living Korean War veterans were presented with the traditional Korean Hanbok (ceremonial clothing) by Consul General Kyung Jae Park.
The OC Korean War Memorial is the result of over 10 years of planning and fundraising by the OC Korean War Memorial Committee which was founded by Jin Oh Kim and Dongwoo “Joe” Pak in 2011.
In 2014, former Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee visited Korea and signed a memorandum of agreement between Fullerton and the OC Korean War Memorial Committee. In 2019, Fullerton City Council unanimously approved the OC Korean War memorial.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place in 2020 and the dedication in 2021.
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