Praying for the repose of souls of both friendly, enemy sidesEnvoys, local leaders, 5,000 citizens
attend joint memorial ritual
A grand joint memorial service for all the fallen youths of both sides during the Korean War was solemnly held at the Peace Dam in Hwacheon County on July 13, 2013 attended by some 5,000 government, religious and civic leaders, including Governor Choi Moon-soon of Gangwon Province, Mayor Jeong Gap-cheol of the Hwacheon County, Executive Chief Ven. Jaseung of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order, Co-chairman Madam Lee Yun-sook of the Joint Memorial Service and National Assemblyman Han Ki-ho.
It was attended also by some 50 ambassadors and senior diplomats, including Ambassadors Slobodan Marinkovic of Serbia, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine and Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal. (See list at the end of this Article.)
Speaking to the guests, Governor Choi said that it was a joint memorial service in that it was not only for the friendly forces but also for the fallen youths of the other side, including China, and that the name of the Paroho Lake (Lake of the Defeated Enemies) should be changed to a “Lake of Peace.”
Mayor Jeong Gap-cheol of the Hwacheon County, host of the event, said that over 100,000 soldiers died in Hwacheon area during the Korean War and that he was hosting the joint memorial service for the fallen youths of both sides and for the promotion of peace in the world. (See excerpts from the speech toward the end of this Article.)
There were congratulatory speeches by Governor Choi Moon-soon of Gangwon Province, Executive Chief Ven. Jaseung of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order and Co-chairman Madam Lee Yun-sook of the Joint Memorial Service and National Assemblyman Han Ki-ho.
In a return speech, Ambassador Marinkovic of Serbia, dean of the visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps that day, said in part, “For the end I would like to remind you on the lyrics of world famous song from my youth: ‘Give peace a chance’. Let’s send a message from this place to people worldwide to allow everlasting resonate refrain of this song and sound of Hwacheon Peace bell. (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)
Then there was offering of a flower and burning of incense by the host and guests, including the local celebrities and the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Before the speeches and offering of flower and incense-burning, there was a presentation ceremony of a Plaque of Appreciation by Ambassador Slobodan Marinkovic of the Republic of Serbia on behalf of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps to Mayor Jeong Gap-cheol for the kind invitation of the members of the SDC to the Memorial Service. In the Plaque, Ambassador Marinkovic stated that attendance of the diplomats at the Memorial Service greatly contributed to their understanding of the Korean culture and that efforts of Mayor Jeong for the promotion of world peace met the interests of all the countries of the world.
The participating local leaders also made an official declaration of establishing a monument for the fallen souls of the Korean War victims and for the promotion of peace in the world. To be used for the construction of the Monument are US$25,178 donated by the participants at the Hwacheon Peace Forum as part of the program of the world congress of the World Miss University 2011. On that occasion the university students and student members of the World Peace Corps from all parts of the world raised the money and donated the entire amount to the Hwacheon County for the construction of the Monument.
Following the opening ceremony of the Memorial Service, the visiting ambassadors and other members of the Diplomatic Corps were invited to toll the Peace Bell of the World with the leaders of the Gangwon Province and Hwacheon County, including Governor Choi of the Province, Mayor Jeong, National Assemblyman Han and Co-Chairman Madam Lee.
They all tolled the Bell three times on each occasion.
The Memorial Service was followed by a special dinner prepared personally by the famed traditional Korean culinary artist, Im Ji-Ho, prepared food and beverage always with the health of the guests in mind. Therefore, he insists only on organic vegetables and the freshest meat and seafood which he prepares in accordance to his own culinary methods, which is much different from the food and beverage prepared by regular chefs.
For instance, Artist Im uses not regular dishes or plates but specially made wood boards that were carved in the form and shape of an open book.
It was Ramadhan and one of the Muslim guests asked that she be permitted to take some fruits and buns on the wooden plate so that she could take them on board the Limousine bus on the way back home as she was required to have food only after 8 p.m. Culinary Artist Im obliged her much more than that. He not only presented her with the food and wooden plate but put his signature and a simple sketch drawn on it.
Government Moon, Mayor Jeong and other leaders of the Memorial Service were very grateful to the ambassadors and other senior members of the SDC for their attendance at the Service because it was a joint event for the soldiers of all scores of different countries of the world as well as South Korea and other Korean War veteran countries. They expressed gratitude especially to the defense attaches of the embassies because the occasion was closely related with the military.
Excerpts from the welcome speech by Mayor Jeong Gap-cheol of Hwacheon
Hwacheon is the smallest county of the Republic of Korea with a population of only 25,000 persons. However, Hwacheon County is widely known in the world as a symbolic region of peace in the world.
Here in Hwacheon where we are now was a place where over 100,000 youths died during the Korean War as a victim of the different ideologies created by the big countries.
No sooner had the scars of the War had been healed than came the construction of the Kumgang-san Dam constructed by North Korea north of the DMZ for the purpose of ‘Water Offense’ against the Republic of Korea (South). In order to defend us from such an attack, South Korea built the Peace Dam south of the DMZ, which is located just behind where we are located.
Against this backdrop, I decided to make the Peace Bell of the World using the expended bullets collected at the time of excavation of the bodies of the fallen soldiers and those others donated by many countries of the world where there have been military conflicts. The Bell weighs 10,000 Gwan (37.5 metric tons or 32,700 pounds).
I also invited the Nobel Peace Prize laureates and peace lovers of the world to visit Hwacheon, created with them a Hand Printing, and declared Hwacheon as the Symbol of Peace of the World.
This Joint Memorial Service, in fact, was planned three years ago to be held on the day of the outbreak of the Korean War. However, it has been postponed until today due to various domestic reasons. Today, we observe the meaning Service thanks to the unreserved support provided for this occasion by all of you who are here today.
The Joint Memorial Service for the World Peace today has the following meaning of peace:
First, it is the peace from the war. The mankind has been incessantly having a conflict for the reason that different peoples have different ideologies.
Second, it is the peace of the religion. There have been conflicts in the world only because different peoples had different religious.
Thirdly, it is the peace of the race. Now there should be no people on the earth, who are prejudiced against or mistreated solely because of the different color of skin.
Lastly, we are building a World Peace Memorial Tower in Hwacheon. This Memorial Tower is made not with fund or support from the central government. This sublime Memorial Tower will be built with the participation of everyone who loves peace as well as the young people of Korea and the world.
We introduced the significance of construction of this Monument at the Hwacheon Peace Forum held here as part of the program of the world congress of the World Miss University 2011. On that occasion the university students and student members of the World Peace Corps from all parts of the world raised US$25,178 and donated the entire amount to the Hwacheon County for the construction of the Monument.
The donation has become the seed money for the construction of the Memorial Monument for the young people who died here during the Korean War. It is my ardent hope that the message of peace will pervade to all parts of the world from this place on the occasion of this meeting.
I would like to say thank you to everyone.
Return speech by Ambassador Marinkovic of Serbia:
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Esteemed Mayor of Hwacheon County, Mr. Jeong Gap-cheol?Respected Chef Abbots of the Korean Buddhist Jogye Order?Chairman of The Korea Post, Mr. Lee Kyung-sik, Dear colleagues from Diplomatic Corps, Hosts and Guests
This year the 60th anniversary of Armistice that is signed after three years of bloody war is celebrated throughout Korea. In celebration of this significant date, a number of Buddhist dignitaries guided by their leading principles have been joined in Hwacheon at the Water Culture Hall and Peace Bell Park where they pray for the preservation and promotion of peace, and peaceful resolving of conflicts. Today, we are the participants in this event under the name ‘Grand Buddhist Rite for the Korean War victims’.
Above all, today we have a special pleasure and honor to attend an important event dedicated to the fallen victims of the war. It is well known that only the one who respects the past can understand and manage the present.
Representing the Diplomatic Corps in Korea and diplomats who are present here at this ceremony, it is my great honor and privilege to greet distinguished organizers and leaders of the solemn ceremony, as well as our hosts who invited us through Korea Post to share moments of remembrance of the fallen victims on all sides and to offer what we, as living beings on this earth, can do, not only for them but for their and our descendants.
According to my humble knowledge, today’s ceremony - Yeongsanjae - has a couple of basic meanings. Yeongsanjae is a form of a Buddhist ritual for the deceased people. It serves as a way of sending the person’s soul into the otherworldly realm, the realm of Buddha. The ritual is the symbol of sharing philosophical and spiritual Buddhist messages to the masses. It is also a means of meditation and training.
Comprised of elements of various Korean traditions and culture, Yeongsanjae is designed to help all - deceased and living beings - to enter the world of truth. This solemn Buddhist ritual is not only a mere performance, but also unique rite that engages the audience too in order to help participants to experience the spiritual enlightenment.
For the end I would like to remind on lyrics of world famous song from my youth: ‘Give peace a chance’. Let’s send a message from this place to people worldwide to allow everlasting resonate refrain of this song and sound of Hwacheon Peace bell.
Ambassadors Slobodan Marinkovic of Serbia with madam, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya with madam, Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal; Mrs. Zofia Majka (spouse of the ambassador of Poland; Head of Mission Mikhail Bondarenko of the Russian Trade Mission; Minister Plenipotentiary Mrs. Nabawia Ali Elgendi of Egypt; Defense Attache Brig. Gen. Guzmar Angel Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico; Counsellors Mrs. Oung Bophal of Cambodia with spouse and Mrs. Ute Katzsch-Egli of Germany with spouse; First Secretary Mrs. Fati Aidoo of Ghana; Defense Attaches Captain Daniel Gustavo Chaluleu of Argentina with family, Col. Rainer Schwickart of Germany with madam Col. EP Marcos Alipio De La Vega Polanco of Peru Commander AP Jorge Eduardo Cavero De los Rios of Peru with madam, Mr. Carlos Alberto Herran Robles of Colombia and Col. Eddie D Maningding of the Philippines with madam; Second Secretary Jose Santiago Arrubla Sighinolfi of Colombia; and Administrative Attache Ms. Maria Ninfa Camayo Arboldeda of Colombia; Head of Seoul branch of Legal Daily Wang Gang of China. (We regret that space does not permit listing of all participants.--Ed.)
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