Korean War Memorial Reintroduces Names of Fallen > US Department of Defense > Defense Department News
The Korean War Veterans Memorial was rededicated today with a new feature: a ‘wall of remembrance’ that features the names of more than 43,000 U.S. service members and Korean U.S. Army reinforcements who were killed during the war.
“Today…we commemorate the sacrifice of those Americans and Koreans who bravely fought together, side by side, to defend our freedom, laying the foundations for a prosperous Democratic Republic of Korea and a United States. United/Republic of Korea strong and unbreakable alliance,” said Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington was dedicated 27 years ago on July 27, 1995. Construction on the rededicated memorial began in March 2021. The $22 million project was funded by donations from the peoples of the United States and South Korea, officially named the Republic of Korea.
The names on the Wall of Remembrance are arranged by rank and branch of service to show visitors how the burden of war fell unevenly on the military.
Another important feature of the wall is that the names of US servicemen and Korean US Army reinforcements are not listed separately. Instead, they’re mixed – just like they fought together in the war.
U.S. Army Korean Augmentations, or KATUSA, are members of the Republic of Korea Army who are assigned to the U.S. Army, wear U.S. Army uniforms, and are equipped with the same equipment as soldiers Americans. They also live and fight alongside American soldiers. The KATUSA concept was first developed during the Korean War and continues today.
“This wall reminds us of the depth of their sacrifice and instills in us the call of duty to continue their fight,” said Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Tae-yong. “The servicemen we are here today to honor have stood firm on the battlefields so that future generations can live in a vibrant democracy – indeed, the Republic of Korea is a vibrant democracy today. Recognizing this, I promise to follow their lead and work to build an even stronger ROK/U.S. alliance. On behalf of all Korean people, I would like to express my gratitude to all Korean War veterans and to their families. We are eternally and deeply grateful.
According to statistics from the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, the Wall of Remembrance features the names of 29,857 American soldiers, 4,522 American Marines, 668 American sailors, 1,587 American airmen and 7,174 Korean reinforcements from the American army. A total of 43,808 names appear on the wall.
“It’s a beautiful monument,” Emhoff said. “It is a poignant reminder of the individual sacrifices of over 36,000 U.S. service members and over 7,000 Korean soldiers who served together and died together in Korea. Their names are now etched forever here in our incredible mall in Washington.”
In addition to the Wall of Remembrance, work at the Korean War Veterans Memorial included: finishing the 19 8-foot-tall stainless steel statues that represent service members from each of the U.S. military services who fought in the war , the replacement of the engraved names of the participating countries and the numbers of the victims with stainless steel letters, and extensive landscaping efforts.
Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation President, Retired General John H. Tilelli Jr., said the wall of remembrance and improvements to the memorial will better educate visitors about the importance of remembering the Korean War.
“We hope this memorial will remind the millions of people who visit here every year that freedom doesn’t come free,” Tilelli said.
The foundation, he said, had three goals when redesigning and rededicating the memorial:
To honor those who fought in the war and ensured a free and democratic South Korea.
To educate visitors on the cost of war. Nearly 1,000 soldiers died every month during the 37-month war.
To show the strength of the existing ironclad alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States.
“Today we honor Korean War veterans and the families of fallen heroes,” Tilelli said. “With this inauguration ceremony, I hope it is no longer the ‘forgotten war’, but the ‘remembered victory’ that has been won by these veterans.”