On November 11 hearts and minds of Korean War Veterans will be on Comrades buried in UN Cemetery
United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan in photo taken a few years ago. The white structure in right centre of the cemetery area is the Commonwealth Monument to Those With No Known Graves. Not shown is the Canadian Monument to Canadian Fallen which is now located in the centre of the open green area below the Commonwealth monument. In foreground is main entrance gates and just beyong administrative buildings, exhibition hall, and copper roof, non-demoninational chapel.
On November 10 and 11 in Canada, many Korean War Veterans will turn toward Busan where 378 of our comrades are buried.
From Glace Bay in Nova Scotia to the Hudsons Hope District in north inner British Columbia and the small artists community on Salt Spring Island off the Vancouver Island coast, they will make the heartfelt gesture.
Those who dont, who are part of observance ceremonies where a turn to the direction of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery might be awkward, will have their hearts turned that way for part of that day, too for who can forget those who served amongst us and fell there and are left behind in Korean soil, or those fallen who were later repatriated to their home country.
The town of Hudsons Hope will be adding the Turn Towards Busan as a part of our Remembrance Day Service.
We hold our service in front of the municipal office at the Cenotaph and follow the service with refreshments in the Community Hall.We host a dinner for our Veterans in the evening. Our service begins at 10:45 a.m. and we always have an excellent turnout which includes the Canadian Rangers and Junior Rangers who are a big help with this service.
Mayor Lenore Harwood
District of Hudson's Hope
PO Box 330
Hudson's Hope, BC V0C 1V0
Not only does the UN Cemetery hold the graves of 2,200 United Nations servicemen, since 2006 it also maintains the newly constructed United Nations Wall of Remembrance, engraved with the names of 40,482 Fallen from 17 nations, including those reported missing in action and never recovered.
The Republic of Korea's Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs will hold the first national level Turn Toward Busan Ceremony of Thanks and Remembrance of United Nations Fallen on November 11, with two minutes of silence observed precisely at 11 am.
The United Nations Memorial Wall, erected and dedicated in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan in 2006, is engraved with the names of 40,482 service personnel who lost their lives during the Korean War era. It includes the names of those listed as missing in action or killed in action with no known burial place. The black polished granite wall is in the rear of the gray arches behind the pond. The round pond symbolizes the Universe where the sky and the Wall together with spirit of the Fallen and the minds of visitors are present. There is a military helmet in the pond that signifies war while the lotus flower on the opposite side of the pond signifies transformation from war to peace
Veterans in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States also will turn toward Busan, where it is possible and appropriate.
As in Canada, those who are committed to a larger service and do not think they should make the turn, will put their hearts where their comrades are buried, or where they are commemorated on the Commonwealth Monument to Those With No Known Graves and on the expansive United Nations Memorial Wall.
In London, England, at the Queens National Remembrance Day Service British Korean War Veterans will be focused on Korea and their comrades who fell.
They will all be facing Busan, too, with no need to make the turn. Korean War Veteran Frank Fallows, long a strong activist member in the British Korean War Veterans Association explains:
I know that those veterans with whom I have discussed the Turn Toward Busan programme all are responsive to the event.
One point of interest is that on the relevant date each year around 300 veterans of the Korean War, along with approximately 4,000 veterans of other wars take part in the major Remembrance Day ceremony at the National Cenotaph in London.
All, in fact, are facing in the direction of Korea at exactly 1100 hrs during the service. This is not a planned turn, but is always commented on by our veterans.
As you are aware this is a major day of remembrance in the UK, with the Queen and family, along with many senior representatives from all over the World in attendance. I am sure that the Korean War is in many of the minds of those present from all wars.
The Cenotaph atWhitehall where thousands of Veterans and others join Her Majesty Elizabeth II in honouring the Fallen on Remembrance Day.
Aside from that British Korean War Veterans individually and in some BKVA units or as members of other Veterans organizations, make the turn in addition to the national service held in London.
In Australia the Korean War Veterans Association of Australia has sent word to all of its units about the Turn Toward Busan tribute and the service in Korea.
The same applies. Many will make the special turn, all will be focused on their comrades who fell and those wounded and all who suffered and sacrificed during the war.
Australian War Memorial in Canberra is focal point of national Remembrance Day ceremony with many other ceremonies held at other locations throughout Australia.
Australian veteran activist Jim Farmer, until recently national secretary of the Korea Veterans Association of Australia comments that:
We have notified our RSL (Returned and Service League 24,000 strong) in Victoria, several local RSL units and country. Also in New South Wales and Queensland. So hopefully a large number of Korean War Veterans will turn towards Busan. Hope all goes well in Korea on the 11th of November.
Discussion of the Turn Toward Busan tribute amongst all Veterans will inspire many to make the turn on their own, in private perhaps, but in their hearts certainly.
Somewhere in the Middle East, working covertly in a classified assignment, retired Colonel Chip Bowness will make the turn.
Chip is a former Canadian Defence Attache in Seoul, where he served for four years and played a pivotal role in many Korean War commemoration programs. They include the funding and development of the two Monuments to Canadian Fallen which stand in the UN Cemetery in Busan and in Canada, overlooking Confederation Park in the national capital.
Chip and his wife Dawn Lynn and an expat Canadian did so last year standing on the banks of the river that runs through Bangkok, when he served as the United Nations mine clearance administrator for continental Asia.
On November 11 all over the world, no Korean War Veteran will not have in his mind those days of service in Korea, and special solemn thoughts for Lost Comrades, and for the magnificent gesture of all who risked injury and life to help others in what they believed was a proper and just cause.
Poppy is placed on Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where the National Remembrance Day Service is held.
AP Photo by Tom Hanson
Yes, the years take their toll on many of our comrades. In Ottawa, which had a spectacular Turn Toward Busan ceremony last year, attended by Canadas Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson, the event this year has been moved to the inside of Ottawa City Hall.
Under leadership of Lieutenant Commander (retired) Bill Black, president of the National Capital Unit of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada, virtually the full compliment of members, regardless of age, stood in the Ottawa cold on the night of November 10. They precisely observed two minutes of silence at the exact same time on November 11 Korea time that it was done in the UN Cemetery in Busan.
The event was so moving that CBC television covered it in great detail, its news team and senior executive producer Mark Bulgutch all enduring the cold to set up camera, interview participants, work hard and rapidly so as to process and edit the coverage as a segment of the next days Remembrance Day national telecast.
Monument to Canadian Fallen in Ottawa after wreaths were placed in November 10, 2007 Turn Toward Busan memorial tribute held by KVA Canada National Capital Unit.
Those shivering Veterans, many, if not all well into their 80s, turned to face toward Busan along the plot line Lat N 35, 08 Long E 129-06.
It was 9 pm November 10 in Ottawa, but 11 am November 11 in Busan.
In Busan a single Canadian Veteran, Peter Seiersen from Courtenay, BC was observing the two minutes silence, making the salute of respect and tribute and placing flowers near the eternal flame at the United Nations Wall of Remembrance.
He did so on behalf of all Canadian Korean War Veterans. He placed floral tribute from KVA Canada on behalf of all of Canadas Korean War Veterans, and from The Royal Canadian Regiment, the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry Regiment and the Royal 22e Regiment.
Veteran Peter Seiersen salutes after placing floral tributes to Fallen Comrades at Monument to Canadian Fallen following 2007 Remebrance service in UN Cemetery in Busan.
Peter returns to Busan again this year, paying his own way as he did in the pilot program held there under UN Cemetery sponsorship in 2008. With him will be Jack Coghill, a senior pipe major who served with the RCN in the North Atlantic in the Second World War.
Jack was piper for the Turn Toward Busan service held in Ottawa last year, where his bagpipes nearly froze. He also was the official piper for the 2003 VAC Pilgrimage to Korea. On that occasion he piped to close out the three-year long series of commemoration events held in Korea by the United Nations Command.
Seventeen Canadian bereaved family members and 15 bereaved family members from the UK will be in the UN Cemetery on November 11, visiting the graves of their loved ones who fell on Korean soil. Three bereaved family members from Australia will also be there to visit the grave of a family member.
Representatives of the Republic of Koreas navy, army, air force and marine corps will participate, as will many government officials and ROK Korean War Veterans.
A United Nations Guard of Honour drawn from Veterans from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the U nited Kingdom and the United States will symbolically represent Korean War Veterans from all of those nations.
In addition to the Ottawa ceremony in Canada, the National Capital Unit of KVA Canada will also participate in a November 11 remembrance service in the National Military Cemetery near Ottawa where Canadian Veterans are buried, including some killed in action in the war in Afghanistan.
Veterans from other KVA Canada Units and ROK Veterans resident in Canada will also hold a November 11 memorial service at the Korean War National Wall of Remembrance in Brampton, near Toronto.
The Wall is a Canadian national memorial. It contains replicas of the grave markers of all 516 of our Fallen Comrades who are listed on the Korean War Roll of Honour, including our 378 Fallen Comrades who are buried in the UN Cemetery in Busan.
The National Korean War Memorial Wall in Brampton, Ontario displays replicas of the grave markers of Canadian servicemen who fell during the Korean War and during the period of Canadian service in the post armistice UN Peacekeeping involvement in Korea and Japan.
We are pleased to learn that there will be a Turn Toward Busan gesture in Montreal, too, this year when Korean War Veterans gather for the regular Remembrance Day service.
On Nov. 11th a few minutes before 11 am, members who will attending the traditional Remembrance Day Service in Montreal will observe a 2 minute silence for our Canadian Fallen Comrades buried in Busan.
Best Regards, A. Martel, President, KVA Canada Unit 55
Panel on United Nations Wall of Remembrance in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery Korea. The wall was erected and dedicated in 2006.