Addition to Korean War Memorial Honors the Fallen

Addition to Korean War Memorial Honors the Fallen

Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance
Photo by: Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., now features a Wall of Remembrance bearing the names of the fallen.

Unveiled on July 27, the 69th anniversary of National Korean War Armistice Day, the wall is inscribed with the names of more than 36,000 U.S. soldiers and over 7,000 Korean augmentees who fought alongside the Americans. 

The Korean War, sometimes referred to as “The Forgotten War,” was fought between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953. 

The memorial on the National Mall in the nation’s capital was authorized by Congress on Oct. 28, 1986, and first dedicated on July 27, 1995.

In October 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed the Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance Act, authorizing adding the names of the fallen to the memorial, according to the National Park Service. 

Construction on the addition to the memorial began in March 2021, and the $22 million project was funded by donations from the U.S. and South Korea, according to the Army.

“At war’s end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families, homes and jobs—and to a country reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize,” according to a National Park Service webpage on the conflict. “But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war.” 

The Wall of Remembrance joins the memorial’s existing mural wall and steel sculptures. Louis Nelson, who created the granite mural, said that he hopes it will move and inspire visitors. 

“The basis of all my work is the purity and simplicity of design relationships working hand in hand with the story, the clear narrative to move people to understand and perhaps take action and assure their comfort in that process,” Nelson said in a news release. “At its core is that it must matter.”

The memorial captures the human cost of the Korean War. In addition to the dead, more than 103,000 U.S. service members were wounded during the war, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs fact sheet. 

“It’s beautiful monument,” Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff said during the July 27 unveiling, according to an Army news release. “It’s a poignant reminder of the individual sacrifices of the more than 36,000 U.S. service members and the more than 7,000 Korean troops who served together and died together in Korea. Their names are now forever engraved here on our incredible Washington mall.”

Army veteran George Dixon, who served in the Korean War, spoke about the realities of life as a soldier during an interview with the Korean War Legacy Foundation in 2017. 

“Facing the enemy, that was the most difficult thing,” he said. “You couldn’t figure out where this artillery was coming from … you couldn’t pinpoint it. This happened for about three days. That was really the worst part of it, because you never knew when one of those [bullets] was going to hit you, and it killed six of our guys in that bunker over there.”