Wolf Pack Airmen partake in Korean Armitice ceremony
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 8th Fighter Wing took part in a Korean Armistice Agreement anniversary ceremony held at the Imsil National Ceremony in Jeonbuk, Korea, July 24.
Having been invited by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, the 8th FW sent representatives from each of its groups, as well as the wing staff agencies, to make the trip to Imsil. While there, the Wolf Pack Airmen were given the opportunity to actively participate in the ceremony, a gesture symbolic of the armistice and the U.S.-South Korean alliance that has continued 62 years after its signing.
Signed July 27, 1953, the Korean War Armistice Agreement brought an end to the three-year conflict. Hostilities were ceased between the north and south, establishing a stalemate until a peaceful settlement could be reached. Today the cease-fire and Demilitarized Zone still remain, serving as a lasting reminder of the war, its aftermath and the lives lost.
"Those sworn to defend freedom and peace always treasure it most," said Col Seth Frank, 8th Fighter Wing Mission Support Group Commander. "We stand shoulder-to-shoulder alongside our Korean neighbors in defense of both, knowing that we work toward maintaining these common and noble goals. Our brotherhood and shared sacrifice allows us to fully appreciate how truly precious freedom and peace are for both our nations."
For the Wolf Pack Airmen, that acknowledgement took place in Imsil, roughly two hours south of Kunsan AB.
The ceremony began with the posting of the flags of the U.N. member nations involved in the Korean War, as well as the national anthems of both the Republic of Korea and the United States. After a moment of silence was observed, a wreath laying followed with Korean War veterans and Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing to place it.
Members of the MPVA then advanced to the stage to lay white chrysanthemum flowers, symbols of nobility and dignity in Korea, and add incense to be burned in an urn honoring the fallen. Five Airmen representing the four groups and wing staff agencies would follow suit, each placing a flower and adding incense, prior to bowing in unison.
Following the display was a poetry reading by middle school students of Gwangju City and live performances by the 35th Infantry Division, Imsil, ROK, and university student vocalists from Jeonju. The musical performances marked the end of the occasion.
"As a combined force, we have a long, rich history of defending the peninsula," Frank said. "It's vital that we remember the acts of bravery, courage and fortitude that came before us--from both ROKAF and U.S. forces."