MANILA—It has been 66 years since the bloody Korean War from 1950 to1953 which killed 2.5 million people and caused a permanent dispute in a divided country.
In commemoration of the war veterans and combatant nations that participated, the Korean government constructed memorials and monuments to give honor to their sacrifices and heroism.
One of the monuments had been set up to honor the Filipino soldiers who fought to protect freedom and peace and lost their lives during the Korean War.
The Philippines sent five Battalion Combat Teams (BCTs) known as the Peftok with a total 7,420 personnel. On Sept. 19, 1950, the Philippines’ 10th Battalion Combat Team with about 1,400 men landed at the port of Busan as the first of the five BCTs that would serve under the United Nations Command in Korea for the period 1950-1955.
It was the eighth UNC ground combat unit to enter the Korean War. A total 7,420 Filipino officers and men served in Korea. They suffered 116 killed in action, 299 wounded and 57 missing (41 repatriated during Prisoners of War exchanges). The last of the Philippine troops left Korea on May 13, 1955.
Namo Kim, a youth from the International Peace Youth Group whose grandfather had served in the army during the Korean War and owed his life to a Filipino soldier, offered his floral tribute to the Monument for the Philippine Soldiers.
He said this act is to reciprocate the comradery of the Filipinos to his grandfather during the war. Comradery is the spirit of friendship and community in a group, like the comradery of soldiers at war who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances.
“The story described very horrible and awful moments which we could hardly believe today. No water to drink, no clothes to change, it was such a miserable situation. He even got a gunshot and was waiting for death. But he could survive miraculously because of the help of the Filipino comrades, he was always grateful for that,” he said.
He regarded the sacrifices of the Filipino soldiers as the reason they were able to protect their family, to which he is forever grateful.
“Now it’s our turn to make a return for your family and the Philippines by achieving peace,” he said.
His grandfather’s war experience was his eye-opener to pursue the required military training with the aim in mind of advocating peace among the youth.
“A Korean youth who must serve in the military for two years experiences the tragedy in which he has to be trained to point a gun and fight the same Korean race every day,” he said.
To advocate peace for him is saving lives of the youth who are trained at the frontlines in case of a war breakout.
“They are sacrificed in the war without having had a chance to bloom. No price could compensate for the loss of a life. That’s why I think the youth themselves must work for: peace,” he said.
According to him, to achieve peace, the youth should go beyond in exhibiting the spirit of peace.
“I think it’s important that we constantly strive to pass down the peace to the next generation, not the war,” he said.
He believes the act of youth promoting peace is like a butterfly effect that is starting from little acts to important results. Youth acting together, according to him, is making world peace possible.
“I think we can make a world of peace if the youth take a lead and work together to create the atmosphere of peace,” he said.
The IPYG, an affiliated body of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light, is an organization that works to achieve world peace and the cessation of war by joining with 797 organizations in 110 countries in the world.
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