By Prisca Sam-Duru
June is the month of Patriots and Veterans in Korea; a period set aside by the country to honour heroes who dedicated their lives to the service of the nation. The month was chosen by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs in Korea to honour the noble sacrifices made by Korea’s heroes of the past.
For maximum impact, the ministry has divided the month into three distinct periods, with June 1st to June 10th set as a period of commemoration; June 11th to June 20th, as a period of gratitude and; June 21st to 30th as a period of harmony and unity.
To commemorate the 2021 edition of the Patriots and Veterans, the Korean Cultural Centre of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, organised an ongoing Korean War Photo Exhibition which opened on June 23rd, 2021, at the Centre.
On display in the hall are real photographs from the war, which takes observers down history lane as they view undistorted photographs from the war that claimed thousands of lives. The photographs also offer viewers a glimpse of the war memorial in South Korea amongst others.
The photos of the Korean War being exhibited, calls to mind the anxiety, suffering and pains caused by war, with the underlining message of not letting war happen again either in Korea, Nigeria or anywhere in the world.
The opening event also featured the screening of a short video filmed at the War Museum in Korea by a Nigerian scholar.
Welcoming guests at the opening ceremony of the “Patriots and Veterans Exhibition” which runs till July 19, 2021, the Director of the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria, Lee Jin Su, while appreciating guests for the massive turn out at the exhibition, said, “There is nothing beautiful about War. The only thing admirable about it, are those who decide to lay down the most precious thing they have for the good of others- their lives. It is hard enough to lay down your life for your friend, how much more, your country. But this is the very definition of patriotism- sacrifice and valour, which is why we are here today, to commemorate all patriots and veterans that sacrificed themselves for the nation of Korea and by extension, a reminder of all veterans, including in Nigeria”.
Speaking further, Lee Jin Su stated that “Annually, as declared by South Korea, the month of June commemorates patriots and veterans of the military service, especially those from the Korean War which began on June 25th, 1950, lasting 3 years, 1 month and 2 days and; ceased on July 27, 1953, when an armistice was reached. However, we also recognize that various wars all around the world have been fought causing terrible loss such as the Civil war here in Nigeria, from July 6th, 1967 to 15th January, 1970.
“The greatest message one should stand for is peace, mutual understanding and building bridges, which is what the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria, stands for. Today we will tour, and take a walk down history as we view real photographs from the war, and also have a glimpse of the war memorial in South Korea amongst others”.
He disclosed that the “Korean War was the first war in which a world organization- the United Nations (UN), played a military role, the United Nations itself having come into existence only five years earlier, adding that “The Republic of Korea as we know today exists because of the sacrifices of brave Patriots and Veterans who defended the values of national independence, democratization and security of lives and property of the people”.
The Korean War which broke out on June 25th 1950 led to the loss of many lives and by the time it ended in 1953, lots of families had become refugees.