Special Congressional Reception Marks Korean War Armistice Day with Members of Congress, Korean Community, and Veterans
Presentation of Ambassador for Peace Medal by ROK Ambassador, Performances by Korean American and South Korean Youth, and Candlelighting Ceremony at 7:27pm
Washington, D.C. – Almost 200 attendees gathered at a special congressional reception to mark the Korean War Armistice Day on July 27th, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, from 6:25pm, with a candlelighting ceremony at 7:27 pm. (The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and halted in a ceasefire on July 27, 1953.)
Several Members of Congress joined the event and spoke on the significance of the U.S.-Korean alliance, including Reps. Young Kim (R-CA), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific in the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Andy Kim (D-NJ), who made history in 2019 when he became one of the first Korean American Members of Congress, Mark Takano (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) who represents one of the largest Korean American communities across the United States. They commented on their commitment to support the Korean American community and build upon the 70 years of U.S.-Korea relations.
The evening’s program featured a presentation of the Ambassador of Peace Medal by South Korean Ambassador Cho Hyundong to express appreciation from the government of the Republic of Korea to those who served in the Korean War. The recipients of the medal were: Connor and Madeline Quatannens, in honor of General Robert W. Sennewald, who served in the Korean War as Second Lieutenant and continued in the U.S. Army to become the Commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (1982-1984) and retired as a four-star General; Staff Sergeant James Diggs who fought in the Korean War in the 503rd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, and was held captive as a prisoner of war.
There were also remarks by Aves Thompson of the 2nd Infantry Division, to represent the Korean War veterans who fought and served in Korea after the ceasefire; Col. Richard Dean of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to remind us of the more than 8,000 servicemembers, like his grandfather, who were missing in action during the Korean War or remain unaccounted for; and Paul
Lee, on behalf of Korean American Divided Families Coalition to share the lingering pain of Korean families who have been separated with their relatives in North Korea for the past 70 years.
Exactly at 7:27pm, attendees lit their candles (battery-operated) to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the pain and sacrifices that were inflicted in the war, followed by the singing of Arirang in hope for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Throughout the reception, there were notable performances by the Korean School of NJ Children’s Choir who participated in the historic Republic of Korea State Arrival Ceremony at the White House in April. They were joined by a group of South Korean students from Pumassi Foundation who won a heartfelt letter writing competition expressing gratitude to Korean War veterans worldwide. They presented a thank you letter and banner to the veterans and showcased a taekwondo dance and a Korean traditional fan dance.
The event concluded with remarks by Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), Chairman Dongsuk Kim from the Korean American Grassroots Conference (KAGC), Dr. Abraham Kim, Executive Director of the Council on Korean Americans (CKA), and Yoona Kim, acting president of Remember727, each representing the four leading Korean American organizations that collaborated to organize the event, with support from Judith Ehm Foundation and other foundations.
“We are pleased to see so many gather to pay tribute to our heroes and to promote lasting peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula,” said the organizers. “We look forward to continue working together and building upon the 70 years of U.S-Korea friendship.”
The reception was made possible through the bipartisan support of four distinguished Korean American Members of Congress, including Representatives Young Kim (R-CA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Michelle Steel (R-CA), and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), who served as honorary co-hosts for this momentous occasion and are dedicated to fostering strong US-Korea relations.
# # #
The Council of Korean Americans is a national nonprofit organization. Our mission is to advance the national voice, interest, and influence of the Korean American community through education, collaboration, and leadership development.