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KOR

President

Address by President Yoon Suk Yeol on the 69th Memorial Day

Date
2024-06-06
hit
8213

Address by President Yoon Suk Yeol on the 69th Memorial Day



[Unofficial Translation]



My fellow Koreans, decorated patriots and veterans and the families of fallen heroes,




Today marks the 69th Memorial Day.




We are gathered here to remember and honor the noble sacrifices of those who have defended our free Republic of Korea.




With the utmost reverence, I pay heartfelt tribute to all of our heroes: the fallen patriotic forebears who gave their lives to regain our sovereignty, the martyred patriots who valiantly defended liberal democracy against invading communist forces, the heroes in uniform who gave their all to protect the lives and safety of the people, and the United Nations Forces who fought alongside us during the Korean War to defend the Republic of Korea’s freedom. I also express my deepest sympathy to the bereaved families who have lived with grief in their hearts.




Fellow Koreans,




From June 3 until yesterday, I hosted the Korea-Africa Summit with the 48 African countries with which we have diplomatic relations.




Among the countries in attendance were several nations that helped us during the Korean War.




The African leaders and representatives participating in the summit were amazed by what the Republic of Korea has achieved up to today and expressed their interest in learning from our experiences. Indeed, our past 70 years in themselves represent a miraculous history.




And at the foundation of this accomplishment lies the dedication of our great heroes.




Our fallen patriots and those who gave their lives to defend the country made noble sacrifices for our nation and people, and their sacrifices continue to be passed down generation after generation.




On January 31, Fire Sergeant Kim Soo-kwang and Senior Firefighter Park Soo-hoon ran into flames to save lives in Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, but never returned to their loved ones.




In March, a heartbreaking tragedy occurred; Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Han Jin-ho lost his life during a maritime drill for the protection of our waters.




Once again, I pray for the repose of their souls and extend my deepest gratitude to all our heroes who are resolutely dedicated to safeguarding our country even at this very moment.




With the utmost respect, the government and I will repay our heroes who sacrificed everything for the country and people.




By innovating welfare services for patriots and veterans, we will improve medical care and expand rehabilitation support for persons of national merit. This will provide meticulous assistance to ensure that those injured in the line of duty can get back to their normal lives.




No matter what happens, the country will take full responsibility for the bereaved families of our heroes who unfortunately lost their lives in service of the country.




To ensure that the children of our heroes grow up with pride, the nation will become their loving and supportive family.




We will further expand the “Heroes Family Program” that was initiated last year and take care of each and every child as if they were our own.




Fellow Koreans,




The Republic of Korea has now become the brightest country in the world, while the land north of the Military Demarcation Line remains the darkest in the world.




Just around 50 kilometers away from here, our compatriots are suffering from starvation with their freedom and human rights brutally deprived.




The North Korean regime refuses to accept the progress of history and instead remains on a backward path, threatening our lives.




North Korea – after firing artillery shells into the West Sea and launching missiles – recently carried out a despicable provocation that would make any normal country ashamed of itself.




The government will never overlook the threat from North Korea.




We will maintain an ironclad readiness posture and respond to provocations resolutely and overwhelmingly.




Building upon the more robust ROK-U.S. alliance and cooperation with the international community, we will firmly safeguard our people’s freedom and safety.




Fellow Koreans,




Peace is maintained through strength, not through submission.




We can transform North Korea only if we grow stronger.




Ultimately, we will only be able to restore the North Korean people’s freedom and human rights and move forward toward a free, prosperous and unified Republic of Korea if we become stronger.




We will build a stronger Republic of Korea, a country that advances by taking on challenges and unleashing innovation, a country where the people’s lives are prosperous and happy, a country where young people are full of dreams and hopes, and a country where everyone comes together and moves forward into the future.




I believe that this is the right way to properly remember the sacrifices and dedication of our heroes and uphold their noble cause.




Our great heroes have written proud chapters in our history. The government and I – together with the people – will continue to add to their record.




Once more, I am deeply grateful to all the heroes who have defended the Republic of Korea.




Thank you.