June 6th marks Memorial Day (현충일): the day which marks men and women who died while in military service, during the Korean War and independence movement. On this day, the Korean Flag or Taegeukgi flies at half mast.
Another day that Koreans commemorate in the month of June would be the invasion of North Korean troops. Tanks from the Communist North crossed the 38th parallel to invade the South on the 25th of June, 1950. Many lives were lost during this conflict and many nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Thailand, etc – sent troops to South Korea’s aid.
Sadly, although the ceasefire was signed on 27 July 1963, the Korean War is technically ongoing. Just last year, on the 26th of March, 46 Republic of Korea’s personnel were killed during the ROKS Cheonan Sinking 4 more killed during the shelling of Yeonpyeong on 23rd of November 2010.
For tourists who wants to find out more about the war, there are many sites for us to get to learn the war’s legacy and origin. One of the most popular site would be DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) or in Korean, Hanbando Bimujangjidae (한반도 비무장지대/韓半島 非武裝地帶) . This is the world’s most heavily-militarized border which attracts millions of visitors each year. Visitors can even descend into invasion tunnels that the North has built.
Another site to look out for would be the Seoul National Cemetery – located in Seoul, just south of Hangang (Han River). About 200,000 people visited the Cemetery every June 6th, where the President addresses annually on Memorial Day (Located near Dongjak Station – Seoul Subway Line 4/Line 9).
Freedom doesn’t come free. Therefore, Korea has mandotory military for 21 months for all Korean males. Probably prompted by the event of the shelling of Yeonpyeong on 23rd November 2010, 2PM’s Ok Taecyeon has cancelled his American Green Card in order to fulfil his call of duty for the Republic of Korea’s military service.
Another Korean celebrity, Hyun Bin, volunteered himself to be in the marines prior his military service. His decision cones after the shelling of Yeonpyeong.
We should really thank the South Korean forces that protects us in the nation’s frontline in order to ensure the stability and peace of South Korea.