Yesterday on 25 June, marked an important occasion in the Korean calendar.
It was the sobering reminder of the commencement of the Korean War, 63 years ago in 1950.
All too often, the Korean War is referred to as The Forgotten War. The history is unknown, the veterans have frequently been overlooked. It was seen by many as a policing action by the United Nations, and in that regard is unknown for the ferocity of the fighting along with the demands that the soldiering brought to those who served.
In Australia, more often than not, the Korean War serves as a useful stepping stone for business and politicians wanting to strengthen the connection with Korea today. There is a lot more we could do. There is a lot more we should do.
But the reality is that this anniversary is not about the treatment of veterans in Australia.
The beginning of the Korean War marked a tragedy for a still divided peninsula, remaining today as one of the last reminders of the Cold War.
Sparked by the division of power following World War Two, much sadness and suffering followed, and continues today. Many families were literally crushed or torn in two by the war on the Korean Peninsula which lasted from 1950 until 1953.
This year, the newspapers have been vocal about the prospects of a new war with provocations and heated exchanges from North Korea in the face of a call to negotiations from South Korea and the United States. The sticking point today is the question of denuclearisation. That in itself is a lengthy discussion, and not the point of this post. Even so, it is a bitter legacy of what began in 1950.
The remembrance in Sydney was not large. There were no bands playing music. No celebration of war. Instead, a stalwart band of veterans and dignitaries gathered at the beautiful memorial located at Sydney’s Moore Park to lay wreaths and remember the fallen.
After the wreath laying, a lunch was held at the Korean Society of Sydney clubhouse in Croydon Park, well attended by the Korean Community.
The new Consul General to the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea based in Sydney is soon to arrive from his present post in Papua New Guinea, and so was ably represented by two of his colleagues including Mr Byung-jo Min. It was good to meet the newly arrived members of the Consulate General to Sydney and welcome them to Australia at an occasion such as this.
If you have a moment, go to Moore Park yourself and visit the memorial. It is worth a look. Take some lunch and pause for a quiet moment of reflection. We will remember them.