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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

Korean War 60th Anniversary of the Re-Taking of Seoul
Seoul, Republic of Korea
September 28, 2010

President Lee, on behalf of all the foreign delegations, thank you for hosting us to these historic ceremonies. We are deeply honored by the generosity and hospitality of the Korean people and their government.

President Obama extends his personal best wishes and thanks for the special trust and friendship our countries have shared with one another for many years now, ever since our young sacrificed so heavily together six decades ago. It is good to be back in your beautiful country. You honor us all deeply.

Allow me to acknowledge some special guests, who are here today:

Minister of defense Kim Tae-Young, and Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Kim Yang; General Paik; U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens; Excellencies and heads of delegations from the nations that marched to Korea during her hour of need—the United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, Australia, France, Greece, Colombia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Belgium, Thailand, New Zealand, Ethiopia, South Africa, Luxemburg, India, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy; General Sharp, Commander, United Nations, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces, Korea; Chairman Lee, 60th Anniversary War Commemoration committee; Other Veterans of the Korean War from every nation; you honor us with your presence; Fellow Veterans, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon. Sixty years ago, today, the city of Seoul was liberated by United Nations Forces—most notably, by American and Korean Marines. These ceremonies are stirring tributes to the extraordinary courage, honor, and sacrifice of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen from all our nations, whose boldness and tenacity six decades ago, liberated this great city and preserved the freedom and liberty of the Korean people.

We gather today, as in years past, to pay homage to those who fought, bled, died, went missing, and suffered brutal captivity. Freedom is not free, and their lives were the price of liberty placed on the altar of freedom. Today, we, who gather here, recommit ourselves to remembering, with deep respect and immense gratitude, what the Korean people have never forgotten. The guarantors of the democracy that is, today, the prosperous Republic of Korea were the young from all our nations; they and their comrades kept faith with each other and with their allies. We salute them all.

The alliances between all of our countries are as strong and resilient today as they were when they were forged in battle sixty years ago. Now, as then, “Kap shi - kap si da!” ["We go together!"]

Mr. President, thank you, again, for your friendship and hospitality.

God bless our men and women who serve in uniform. God bless our Veterans. And may God continue to bless all of our great nations. Thank you.