More than 300 people from the local veteran, military and Korean communities turned out Saturday, June 20, here to recognize the beginning of a long and enduring relationship between two countries.
The 65th Korean War Commemoration at the Washington state capital's Korean War Memorial was held to express gratitude for the sacrifices of heroes and veterans of the Korean War, officials said. The event also provided an overview of the war and served to "hand over the lessons of the Korean War to the next generation."
Major Gen. Thomas R. Tempel, Jr., the commanding general of the Western Regional Medical Command, represented I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord at the commemoration. Tempel is also the market manager for the entire Puget Sound Military Health System.
"I Corps has a long history with South Korea," Tempel said. "I Corps deployed to fight three years of campaigns on the peninsula. Seven decades later one thing remains evident -- the memories of the men and women, Korean and American, are still alive and ever-present in the hearts and minds of the citizens of two grateful nations."
Tempel and Chaplain (Col.) William Green, I Corps' command chaplain, laid one of several wreaths at the memorial sculpture, which was dedicated in 1993.
"The close-knit bond and alliance we have forged with the Republic of Korea," Tempel said, "is stronger today because of our shared values and sacrifice."
During his remarks, Tempel highlighted the story of Donald Chadwick, a U.S. Marine corporal from Washington State who served in Korea and was later awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in fighting.
Chadwick sustained shrapnel injuries from a mortar attack while serving in the Changjin Reservoir Battle -- a campaign noted for frigid weather and overwhelming odds against U.S. forces.
"(Chadwick ) and other countless heroes are the reason that we have come together to celebrate the enduring contributions and sacrifices of all our Korean War veterans," Tempel said.
Among those delivering remarks at the event were Korean Consul General Duk-ho Moon, who is posted in Seattle; Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs; Rep. Dick Muri, Washington's 28th Legislative District; and retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Hemphill, a local resident and Korean War veteran who earned the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
Veterans of the Korean War from as far away as Port Angeles, Washington, traveled to attend the event.