Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) Monday welcomed Y.J. Choi, Korean Ambassador to the United States, to the Midwest and commemorated the service of Korean War veterans in Memorial Park in Wheaton.
On the 59th anniversary of the armistice signed in the Korean War, Roskam said it is "absolutely vital" to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the American veterans and on the progress Korea has made in the past six decades.
Roskam and Choi honored the veterans Monday, before Choi spoke at Wheaton College about East-West relations, the enduring alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea and human rights in North Korea, and a Free Trade Agreement roundtable discussion in Addison.
"The Korean War was often called, 'the forgotten war,' but we're not forgetting it today," Roskam said.
The son of a Korean War veteran, Roskam recalled a recent, "moving" visit to Korea. "If you go to Korea today, there is a sense of overwhelming gratitude that is true of the Korean people, that they're communicating to Americans," he said.
"To go to Korea is to go to a touch point... to go to a nation that was the beneficiary of turmoil... and sacrifice."
Korea has "completely transformed" in the past six decades. The city of Seoul, he said, is now a bustling and dynamic metropolis, with the tenth largest economy in the world.
Ambassador Choi said after the Korean War, Americans have stood by Korea. The "alliance and friendship" between the United States and Korea, he said, make Korea a vibrant and prosperous economy.
The veterans honored Monday include:
- Verlyn Roskam
- Emmett Hely
- Fred Yndestad
- Gordon Stanley
- Robert l. Hoffman
- Roland Johnson
- Frank Haynes
- Anthony Zapalik
- Lou Kueltzo and
- George McKissick
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