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City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421
Sister Cities Commissioner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Monday, June 25, 2007
KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL DEDICATED BY OFFICIALS FROM SOUTH KOREA AND ARKANSAS
(Monday, June 25, 2007) – Speaking to a crowd of over 800, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola were joined by and representatives from Hanam City, Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the government of the Republic of Korea in dedicating a memorial to Arkansans killed during the Korean War. The memorial, located in Little Rock’s historic MacArthur Park, also pays tribute to the strong ties between South Korea and Arkansas.
“This memorial serves as a permanent reminder of those brave Arkansans who fought in Korea,” said Mayor Stodola. “It pays a special tribute to the 461 Arkansans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Each of their names is inscribed here.”
The statues of combat soldiers represent the United Nations forces that fought for the freedom of the Korean people. They served in many different capacities. The African-American soldier statue signifies the end of racial segregation in United States military forces that occurred during the Korean War.
The statue of the medic is a tribute to Army combat medics and Navy corpsmen who labored under hostile fire and risked their lives to save the lives of others. The medic reaching out to the Korean children is symbolic of the humanitarian effort that took place to aid the Korean people in their time of desperate need. Older children cared for their younger siblings. The statue of the children represents all of the Korean people who endured so much during the conflict. The children also represent the future of the Republic of Korea, and the rebuilding of the nation that took place after the devastation of war.
The statues are surrounded by the Memorial panels engraved with the names of Arkansans killed during the Korean War. This serves as a silent tribute to the Arkansans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their state and country.
The site for the memorial in MacArthur Park was chosen because of the connection of Gen. Douglas MacArthur with the people of Korea. Gen. MacArthur was born in what is now the park that bears his name, when his father was stationed at the military arsenal located there. In November 2005 a delegation from South Korea journeyed to Little Rock for a ceremony to break the ground on this project.
The memorial cost approximately $570,000. The majority of the funding came from Hanam City, South Korea; the Hanam City Sister Cities Committee; and the Korean Government. Other supporters include the City of Little Rock, Little Rock Sister Cities Commission, Korean War Memorial Foundation, and citizens and veterans of Arkansas.
The Korea War Memorial grew out of the on-going relationship between Little Rock and Hanam City. They have been Sister Cities since 1992. The late Eternal Grand Master H. U. Lee of the American Taekwando Association helped establish the relationship. Officials attending today’s event from South Korea also attended last week’s dedication of the H. U. Lee Memorial Gate and Garden next to the Statehouse Convention Center.
The mission of the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission is to foster relationships between Little Rock and its Sister Cities to promote cross-cultural understanding and exchanges. In addition to Hanam City, South Korea, Little Rock currently has Sister City relationships with Kaohsiung, Provence of Taiwan, Republic of China; Changchun, China; Pachuca, Mexico; and Ragusa, Sicily in Italy as well as Friendship City relationships with La Petite Pierre, France and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. Little Rock is one of over 1,000 cities in the world associated with Sister Cities International, founded in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower to promote peace and understanding.
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