[한국 전쟁 정전 60주년] 한국의 자유를 위해 피흘린 미국 청년들에게 드리는 헌사
지난 7월 27일 미국 워싱턴D.C.에서 한국전쟁 정전 60주년 기념식이 워싱턴D.C. 기념공원에서 오바마 대통령을 비롯한 한미 고위 관계자와 참전 용사들이 참석한 가운데 열렸다.
한국천부교를 대표하여 기념 연회에 참석한 워싱턴교회 김동훈 관장은 60년 전 불모지였던 한국 땅에 와서 한국의 자유를 위해 고귀한 생명을 바친 미군 장병들을 추모하면서 다음과 같은 헌사를 발표했다.
김동훈 관장은 “그들은 전에 보지도 못했던 나라에 와서 만난 적도 없는 사람들을 위해서 싸웠다”고 워싱턴 전쟁 기념관에 새겨진 문구를 인용하면서 전쟁기간 동안에 서울에서 직접 그 전쟁을 체험한 체험기를 이야기 했다. 김관장은 헌사에서 “당신들의 희생은 결코 헛되지 않았다. 5천만 한국 국민이 민주화되고 풍요로운 나라에서 자유를 구가하며 살고 있기 때문이다”라고 하였다.
또 김동훈 관장은 서울이 침공 당하는 순간과 맥아더 장군의 인천상륙작전 성공으로 UN군이 서울을 수복할 때의 광경을 생생하게 증언하였다. 그리고 ‘자유는 대가없이 주어지는 것이 아니다’ 라는 기념비의 문구를 언급하면서 다시 한번 미국 장병들의 고귀한 희생에 감사를 표했다.
다음은 영문 헌사 내용 전문이다.
In Remembrance of Sacrifices Made by American GI’s in the Korean War
I am honored to have this opportunity to express, from the bottom of my heart, my gratitude and the gratitude of the Korean people, to the American veterans who fought in the Korean War.
As written on the Korean War Memorial in D.C., “They came to the country they had never seen before, and fought for the people they had never met before.” As a child who lived through the war, I was an eyewitness to their bravery, their determination, and the great sacrifices they made, so that South Korea survived. Your sacrifices were not in vain. Because of you, 50 million people are now living free in what has become one of the most democratic and affluent nations on earth.
It was all because of you. I remember the desperate situation we were in when the Korean War started. I was a 12-year-old living in Seoul on Sunday morning, June 25, 1950, when Communist North Korean forces attacked the Republic of Korea all across the border with modern Soviet-made tanks and artillery. South Korean soldiers, totally unprepared and without a single tank, were simply no match. They had to retreat, suffering defeat after defeat.
Just three days after their invasion, on the morning of June 28, they marched into the capital, Seoul. On that morning, I went out to the streets and watched North Korean troops armed with Soviet-made guns, marching down the street along with Soviet-made artillery, and tanks. South Korea was on the verge of being totally destroyed by the Communists.
But, thanks to the timely decision of President Truman, U.S. and U.N. forces came to our aid. It was the first ever showdown between the forces of democracy and freedom and the cold, ruthless forces of Communism, and their invasion was successfully deterred. Following the successful amphibious landing in Inchon harbor on September 15, under General Douglas McArthur, Seoul was taken back by the U.S. Marine Corps on September 28, three months after the initial Communist occupation. On that day, I saw the Marine Corps and their tanks advancing along the street, with the citizens of Seoul applauding, I was one of them, clapping with all my heart. And I would be a witness to the continuing sacrifice that you made over the next three years until the cease-fire signed on July 27, 1953.
I have no words to adequately express my thanks for your brave and selfless sacrifice. As it is written on the Korean War Memorial, “Freedom is not free.” The freedom and democracy which the Korean people now enjoy certainly did not come free. The price was very dear, and it was paid by you, those veterans who served during the Korean War. So, I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
July 27, 2013
Dong Hun Kim