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Respecting veterans

June 08,2017
In President Moon Jae-in’s Memorial Day address, he vowed to put an end to politics of ideology and bisection. “I won’t repeat the past tragedies by using patriotism for governing power,” he said. He was making it clear that patriotism and veterans are not aligned to a certain political power and declaring that activities for veterans would be served for national harmony and unity.

“The honor of sacrifice for the nation must not end in rhetoric,” he said, vowing to track down undiscovered independent fighters and their descendants to reward them. Independent fighters and patriots have given their lives for the country out of pure passion and conviction without any reward, but it is the duty of the state to remember and appreciate them over and over.

Honoring veterans and heroes is the key to unite the country and make it strong, he said. The Administration for Veterans’ Affairs was upgraded to ministerial level to ensure that those who had fought for the country as well as their family can live in pride. The National Assembly must support the plan of upgrading the agency to ministerial level and other legislative and budgeting affairs to strengthen veterans’ benefits.

Moon not just attended the ceremonial service at the National Cemetery but also visited the Central Veterans Hospital to pay his respects to the ailing veterans. When a veteran struggled to leave the podium after he made an address at the memorial service, he jumped up to help him get down. His gestures showed respect and the will to keep his promise to reinforce veterans’ rights and benefits.

But he did not specifically address the invader of the Korean War and instead addressed the war as a period that ended in the creation of a demilitarized zone. Speaking frankly about a war and responsibilities behind it is the real appreciation of soldiers who had died for the country. Germany does not stop going back to its atrocities of the past to repent, in order not to repeat the past.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 7, Page 30