New Wall of Remembrance adds 43,000 names of fallen soldiers to Korean War Memorial
The names of over 7,100 Korean augmentees to the U.S. Army, or KATUSAs, are intermingled with those of the U.S. servicemembers they fought besides.
August 2, 2022 2:07pm
Updated: August 2, 2022 5:56pm
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was rededicated with a new “Wall of Remembrance” featuring the names of about 43,000 U.S. servicemembers and South Korean augmentees to the U.S. army that fell during the conflict.
"Today... we commemorate the sacrifice of those Americans and Koreans who bravely fought together, side-by-side to defend our freedom, laying the foundation for a thriving Democratic Republic of Korea and a strong, unbreakable United States/Republic of Korea alliance," Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff said at the ceremony on Thursday afternoon, using the official names for North and South Korea.
The memorial was first dedicated on July 27, 2015, the same date the Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a complete cessation of hostilities of the Korean War and established the Korean Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, in 1953.
Construction of the Wall of Remembrance was authorized by Congress in October 2016 and began in March 2021, after the necessary funding of $22 million was secured from generous American and Korean donors, according to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation.
A noteworthy element of the wall is z. KATUSAs were members of the Republic of Korea Army who were assigned to the U.S. Army, wore U.S. Army uniforms and equipped with the same gear as their counterparts.
Relatives of Korean War veterans were among the several hundred attendees at the rededication ceremony on July 27.
“This wall is so important, because I don’t want anyone to ever forget the sacrifices all these men made,” Robin Piacine told The Washington Post. Her uncle, Sgt. William C. Bradley, was an Army medic captured in the war and died of pneumonia in captivity.
But others are pushing forward to a true end to the war – the armistice halted the fighting but is not a peace treaty – and the reunification of the two Koreas.
"I've had the honor of traveling to every country and US state and territory that participated in the Korean War and met more than a thousand Veterans, including those who fought on the other side. And they all said they want to see a unified Korea in their lifetime,” Remember727 founder Hannah Kim said at their annual Armistice Day commemoration on Thursday evening.
Kim helped spearhead the enactment of the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act, which officially designated July 27 as a day to honor Korean War veterans after being signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. She traveled and visited more than 180 Korean War memorials between 2017 and 2019 – to all 50 states, four U.S. territories and the 26 countries who participated in the war, including North Korea.
“Sadly, it's been almost 70 years since the armistice agreement was signed and the two Koreas remain divided. We, the younger generations, have an obligation to work harder to promote peace and ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten,” Kim added.
According to statistics from the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, the Wall of Remembrance features the names of 29,857 U.S. soldiers, 4,522 U.S. Marines, 668 U.S. sailors, 1,587 U.S. airmen, and 7,174 Korean augmentees to the U.S. Army. A total of 43,808 names appears on the wall.