© Yonhap News 김승두
On June 15th, Chairman Ban Ki-moon attended the opening ceremony of the ‘Gwanghwamun Arirang’ installation art piece, by the world renowned artist Kang Ik-joong. This ceremony was held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.
© Edaily News 이영훈
Chairman Ban started his speech by showing his gratitude for all the honorable guests, especially the Korean War veterans. Korean’s prosperity is built on the sacrifice and devotion of the people who fought to protect this country. However, we still have task to solve, which is the permanent peace on the Korean peninsula. Chairman Ban urged the people to come together in unity to achieve this goal. He mentioned the shared memory and history of the Korean people as the key to our path to peace.
He also acknowledged the ‘Gwanghwamun Arirang’ masterpiece that portrays the linkage of the elderly and the young, Korea and the world, and connection of the past, present and future.
Below is the translation of his speech:
Dear Honorable Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and Former Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Air Force Kim Eun-gi, who are the Co-chairs of the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee; Your Excellency Ambassador Harry Harris, Ambassador of the U.S.; and Excellencies representing the countries who participated in the Korean War; dear artist Kang Ik-joong, and distinguished guests.
Above all, I would like to show my greatest gratitude to the Korean War veterans, who attended this ceremony.
Without your devotion and sacrifice, all of us would not be standing here today.
Thanks to your effort to protect this country, we were able to continue our splendid history over the last 70 years.
My career as the UN Secretary-General from 2007 to 2016 would not have been possible without the national capacity built on the hard work of our people.
As a former UN Secretary-General, I believe that no other country has performed the UN’s spirit better than Korea.
Korea is a proud nation, a country that was able to practice the 3 pillars of the UN’s spirit – peace and security, sustainable development and human rights – even after undergoing the historically worst national tragedy, the Korean War.
However we still have the biggest task to solve, which is the permanent peace-building on the Korean peninsula.
This is not easy.
Which is why we need the wisdom, courage and the will that made today’s Korea, once more.
Most of all, the unity and concurrence of the Korean people, is crucial on our path to peace.
The fundamental chore of unity and concurrence is common memory and shared history across classes and generations.
Our success story, beyond the tragedy of the Korean War, will be the prime memory that brings us together.
Since this year is the 70th anniversary, I ask you all to recall this special memory.
In this sense, the ‘Gwanghwamun Arirang’ masterpiece, created by the internationally acclaimed artist Kang Ik-joong, together with 12,000 or so children of the Korean War UN combatant nations, makes this opening ceremony even more meaningful.
This piece depicts the linkage of the two generations, the war veterans and the children, the linkage of Korea and the world, and the linkage of the past, present and the future.
If the 70th anniversary of the Korean War signifies peace and prosperity founded on the memory of the War and the fallen soldiers, I believe the ‘Gwanghwamun Arirang’ is adequate for this meaning indeed.
Dear honorable guests,
We are now steering through the unprecedented national crisis cause by the coronavirus.
But we have experienced bigger trials than this, and we have ancestors that risked their lives to overcome them.
Remember, and work together to overcome the crisis we face today.
▼ You can watch the entire ceremony below