From: DVA Mailing List
Sent: Mon 24/10/2011 12:02 PM

MINISTER DEDICATES LASTING TRIBUTE TO KOREAN VETERANS

An Australian Monument, honouring the 17,000 Australian sailors, soldiers, airmen and nurses who served to defend Korea, was officially dedicated today in a special ceremony at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea, Busan.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said Australians served with distinction in the Korean War and the memorial honours their service and sacrifice.

“The Korean War is often referred to as the ‘Forgotten War’, and through lasting tributes such as this monument, we can ensure the legacy of our Korean War veterans lives on,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Australian Monument was first built in 1998 and recently restored with an Australian Government grant of $75,000 under the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration Program.

The dedication ceremony was part of a six-day mission to South Korea, comprising eight representatives of the Korean War veteran community, and led by Mr Snowdon to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of major engagements of the Korean War.

Earlier that day, the mission party also attended a special commemorative ceremony dedicated to the 43 Australian servicemen listed as missing in action in the War.

The father of mission representative, Mr Ian Saunders from Cootamundra in NSW, Private John Saunders, is listed as missing in action and his name is now on the United Nations Memorial Wall within the Cemetery.

Mr Snowdon said that the Australian Government was in talks with the North and South Korean Governments to locate the missing in action and see them properly honoured in Korea, alongside their mates who died there.

“I know that for the families of our missing, the Korean War never ended. I live in hope that one day diplomacy will allow the missing, and their families, to enjoy a place of honoured commemoration, and in doing so, to make their own peace,” Mr Snowdon said.

Later this afternoon the Minister will lay a wreath at the Republic of Korea’s United Nations Day Ceremony, with other Commonwealth nations, to recognise the aims and achievements of the United Nations and those who support its invaluable work.

“The 24th of October is an important day to recognise the efforts of countries across the world who contribute to the good work of the United Nations, and Australia is one such country who can look back on its efforts in the Korean War with pride,” Mr Snowdon said.

More than 17,000 Australian sailors, soldiers, airmen and nurses served in the Korean War (1950-1953) and in the post-Armistice period up until 1957. Of those, 340 lost their lives during the war and another 18 died in the post-Armistice period, more than 1,200 were wounded, 30 became prisoners of war and 43 were listed as missing in action.

The Korean War was a significant event in Australia’s military history – marking the first collective United Nations action and reinforcing Australia’s position as a valuable ally.

“Australian sailors, soldiers, airmen and nurses won international respect for their courage, endurance and combat skills in Korea,” Mr Snowdon said.

“This mission is one of the ways to ensure the next generation learns about our important wartime history.”

Editors’ notes: Follow the mission on Facebook at DVA Aus or on Twitter at @dvaaus. Images and full biographies of veteran representatives, historical images and factsheets on the Korean War are available on the DVA Media Centre at www.dva.gov.au/media.
For images of the day’s events please email dvamedia@dva.gov.au

Interviews with mission party members are available by contacting the numbers below.


Media inquiries:
Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 (in Korea) or 02 6277 7820
Interview with veteran party – contact Emma Collien 02 6289 4787 or 0429 129 661 (in Korea)