Remembrance

In Australia we sometimes call the Korean War the 'Forgotten War'...

In the country where it was fought, the Korean War is by no means 'the forgotten war'. In both North and South Korea there are numerous memorials to the more than one million Koreans who died.

In Seoul at Yongsan is the War Memorial of Korea. There, all of Korea's wars are remembered, but there is a special focus on the Korean War of 1950-1953. In the Memorial Hall there is a Wall of Remembrance containing the names of the dead, including those who served with the United Nations. Every Anzac Day a dawn service is held in front of the plaque containing the names of the Australian dead.

As part of the 60th anniversary commemorations of the beginning of the war, the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak, sent a letter to all surviving Australian Korean War veterans, expressing the gratitude of the Korean people for their service. For Koreans the national day to remember the war dead is 6 June in the Republic of Korea (south) and 27 July in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (north).

In Australia on 25 April (Anzac Day) and 11 November (Remembrance Day) we pause to think of all 102,000 of our servicemen and women who have died in war. The special day of remembrance for those who died in Korea is 24 October, United Nations Day. A service is held annually at the Australian National Korean War Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra. Services are also held in state capitals, but every year there are a dozen small unreported gatherings of Australians to remember the Korean War. They are held at places like the Bundaberg Korean War Memorial in Lions Remembrance Park, and the Launceston Returned and Services League building, where Tasmanian Korea veterans meet for a Kapyong Day service.

There are 358 Australians we pay tribute to on 24 October: the 340 who died during the war and 18 who died while serving in Korea after the war. The majority, 281 of them, rest at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan (Pusan), Korea. At Busan is also a memorial to the missing and the names of 44 Australians appear there. The remaining 39 are buried in Japan in the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Hodogaya (where an Anzac Day ceremony is also held) and the Kasugano European Cemetery at Kobe.

United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Busan

During the Korean War Busan was known as Pusan. A cemetery was established there during the war and 2,300 United Nations soldiers, sailors and airmen, including 281 Australians, rest there. The Korean government granted the land to the United Nations in perpetuity, as 'a permanent tribute to all those who gave up their lives in resisting aggression in Korea and in upholding the cause of peace and freedom from 1950-53'.


Last updated: 13 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Remembrance, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 3 December 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/korean-war-1950-1953/locations/remembrance
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