Obama's office says he will attend Korean War ceremony

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Yonhap) -- The White House announced Monday that President Barack Obama will join a special ceremony to mark Korean War Armistice Day this weekend.

"On Saturday, July 27, President Obama will deliver remarks at the Korean War Veterans Memorial to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the Korean War," the White House said in a press release.

Obama would become the first U.S. president to take part in such a formal ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day.

The three-year conflict came to an effective end on July 27, 1953, with the armistice, not a formal peace treaty.

The Korean War is often called the "Forgotten War." The Pentagon is redoubling efforts to enhance public awareness on the historical significance of the war in which the U.S. fought alongside the South against the invading North backed by the Chinese military.

According to the U.S. government, 36,573 American troops were killed, with 103,284 others wounded.

"Defense Secretary (Chuck) Hagel will join the President for the program which will include wreath laying ceremonies, special tributes, and recognize the United Nations Allies that provided combat troops, medical teams, and other support," the White House said.

This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Seoul-Washington alliance.

Addressing a meeting of veterans Monday in Kentucky, Hagel noted the sacrifices and contributions made by American soldiers who took part in the Korean War.

"The upcoming observance of the 60th anniversary is an opportunity for this country to fully express its profound gratitude for your service and your sacrifices and the contributions you have made," he said at the 114th National Conventional of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"The Korean War veterans here today and all those across the country should know that your fellow citizens are proud of what you've accomplished and what your generation has contributed to our security and our prosperity here in this country and certainly in Asia," he added.

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