Mayor Choi Moon-soon of the Hwacheon County of Gangwon Province hosted a celebration meeting of the 205th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Colombia at the Battle Monument of the Colombian Troops at Mahyeon-ni, Sangseo-myeon, Hwacheon County on July 18, 2015. It was also in memory of the fallen soldiers of the Colombian troops who fought in Korea for the defense of freedom and democracy of the Republic of Korea (south) during the Korean War (1950-3).
Attending the ceremony, among other guests, were Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Park Sung-choon, Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia in Seoul, Chairman Lee Heung-il of the Hwacheon County Council, Commander of the 15th Korean Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Choi Young-cheon and over 150 other Korean and international guests, including the defense attaches and other officers of the Colombian Embassy in Seoul.
Ambassador Pinilla decorated Minister Park, Mayor Choi and Maj. Gen. Choi with a medal on behalf of the President of the Republic of Colombia for contribution to the promotion of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
The Colombian Battle Monument in Hwacheon was dedicated on June 15, 2014 in memory of the gallant soldiers of Colombia who fought on the side of the Korean Armed Forces and the United Nations Forces personnel and died in defense of the freedom and democracy of South Korea.
The Republic of Colombia is the only country in the Central and South American region to send combat troops to fight on the side of the Republic of Korea Armed forces during the Korean War.
Colombia sent a total of 1,068 soldiers and one Navy frigate, and suffered a total of 809 casualties, including 145 KIAs (killed in action) and 567 WIAs (wounded in action).
The host and guests each offered a memorial flower and an incense before the altar and made tributes to the fallen soldiers of Colombia.
Then they visited the Victory Observatory and had a security tour as well as a friendly football match and other cultural events.
The Colombian troops succeeded in capturing an important hill position at the Battle of Geumseong Area in October 1951, where the Colombian battalion commander suffered an injury and the first KIA of the United Nations Forces since the outbreak of the Korean War.
There were dance performances presented by the Colombian Dance Troupe and music presentation by the Army Band of the 15th Infantry Division of the Republic of Korea Army.
Photo shows Mayor and Mrs. Choi of Hwacheon County (10th and 11th from right) posing with the military personnel and defense attaches of the Colombian Embassy.