This year, the first Wednesday of June marks one of the most important holidays in South Korea called “Memorial Day.” Let’s take a quick glimpse of South Korea’s history to know more about this special day.
June 25, 1950 is a very significant date in Korean history as it was the day when communist forces from North Korea attacked the South in an attempt to invade the area. That time, the world has not yet gotten over the horrors of the recent World War II so the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemned the raid and urged its member countries to ward off the North Korean attacks by force. The battle, now known as the Korean War, lasted for three bloody years with the involvement of 16 nations that joined the war to aid both parties.
About three million soldiers and civilians died during the war with the bulk of the death toll being Koreans. Thus, in April 19, 1956, Memorial Day was declared as an official holiday. This day honors the lives sacrificed in some of the most important battles of South Korea, most especially the Korean War. Monuments and memorial tombs were also established in the key countries that supported the Republic of Korea during that war (ex. United States and Philippines).
Memorial Day in South Korea is celebrated with students placing thousands of flags and chrysanthemums on soldiers’ graves and raising flags at half-mast. At 10 o’clock, a one-minute noise barrage using sirens is also heard across the country. War monuments in different parts of the country are also visited, laid with flowers and ribbons showing South Korea’s hope that the two Koreas will someday, still become one.