Korean veterans present 50th anniversary book to city

Korean veterans


Wilf Pearson, at left, and George Barrett, president of the Niagara unit of The Korea Veterans of Canada Association, at right, presented a book chronicling the Korean War (1950 - 1953) to Mayor Badawey at council's regular meeting May 25. Veterans will mark the 50th anniversary of the Korean War on June 25 with events across Canada.

From the Korea Veterans Association of Canada

The Korea Veterans Association of Canada (KVA) embodies the spirit of comradeship that was developed during the Korean War and the years that followed. KVA is comprised primarily of members who served in the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy, Army, Air Force) in Korea during the 1950-1953 war and on peacekeeping duties in Korea from 1953 to 1955.

516 Canadians died in Korea

On Sunday, June 25, 1950, 135,000 troops of the North Korean People’s Army slogged south through pre-dawn darkness and the wetness of oncoming monsoon rains. The main invasion thrust was through the Ch’orwon Valley, across the 38th parallel to the Ouijongbu corridor, the direct route to Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (South Korea). Korea, the Land of the Morning Calm, was now the crucible which turned the Cold War hot. By the time the civil war of the Koreas had halted, six million of their countrymen--civilian and military personnel--had perished. Nearly half a million Communist Chinese comrades-in-arms of the North Koreans, soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army, were killed in action. To add to the bloodbath: The Americans who supplied the largest contingent by far for the United Nations Command suffered 103,284 wounded, 54,236 deaths including 33,629 killed in combat and 8,177 missing in action. Canada's casualties totalled 1,558 including 516 who died. The total number of UN Forces (including South Korea) killed, wounded or missing was 996,937.

The Korean War (1950–53) was a military conflict between the Republic of Korea, supported by the United Nations, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and People's Republic of China (PRC), with air support from the Soviet Union. The war began on 25 June 1950 and an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. The war was a result of the political division of Korea by agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War. The Korean peninsula had been ruled by Japan prior to the end of the war. In 1945, following the surrender of Japan, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, with United States troops occupying the southern part and Soviet troops occupying the northern part.The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides, and the North established a Communist government. The 38th Parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Koreas. Although reunification negotiations continued in the months preceding the war, tension intensified. Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel persisted. The situation escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces invaded South Korea on 25 June 1950. It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War.


Veterans mark 60 years since Korean War


Veterans lay wreath of remembrance

Veterans led by Wilf Pearson of Port Colborne held a special ceremony outside city hall June 25 to mark 60 years since the Korean War, which began June 25, 1950. With the flags of Canada, the United Nations, South Korea, and the colours of the Korea Veterans Unit 15 (Niagara) set behind them are, from left, Wilf Pearson, who served with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Archie Blue, also of the RCHA, Romeo Daley, who served with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Hub Lalonde, also of PPCLI, Mayor Vance Badawey, George Barrett, president of the Korea Veterans Unit 15, and a former soldier of the British military, Thor Olsen, who served with the Norwegian military, and Leonard Proteau of the Royal Canadian Armed Service Corps.

Photo courtesy Eddie Chau, The Leader




Veterans were called to fall-in facing the flags, followed by a welcome address and brief history of the Korean War by veterans' association president George Barrett. Veterans and onlookers paid tribute to fallen soldiers with a moment of silence, as the United Nations flag was raised on the city hall flagpole. Mayor Badawey read the proclamation passed by city council to mark Korea War Veterans Month in Port Colborne June 25 to July 27. The Korean War started June 25, 1950 and ended with a ceasefire July 27, 1953.





Children from McKay School Grade 1 stayed after their city hall tour to be part of the Korea Veterans ceremony of remembrance.
The veterans were pleased to see so many young faces, and to hear them say in unison at the end of the ceremony, "Thank you."

The entourage of former solders departed Port Colborne Friday morning June 25, and headed for Fort Erie and Niagara Falls, where similar services were held. The following day, they were to be part of a major ceremony at the Korea War Memorial in Meadowvale, just north of Toronto, to be joined by visiting dignitaries from South Korea.

Photos by Gail Todd