The event, which took place on Armistice Day, Friday 11 November 2011, was held to help ensure that the sacrifice of those personnel who served in the Korean conflict remains alive.
Often undeservedly named ‘the forgotten war’ it was apt that, in the 60th year since the ‘Glorious Glosters’ fought the infamous Battle of Imjin River, Korean War veterans were on hand to share their photos and memories with the younger generation.
Addressing the crowd in the morning, Major General Sir Peter Downward, a veteran of the conflict, summarised the day’s intent:
It is not forgotten and it will never be forgotten.
The day consisted of a series of speeches and activities. Those who spoke included General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, who emphasised the longstanding bond between the United Kingdom and South Korea, veterans, and serving personnel.
The audience also heard from Mr Choo Kyu Ho, the Korean Ambassador. Addressing the children, he wished that, as ‘the future of this country and our hope for the world’, they would learn from the dedication of and sacrifice made by the veterans around them.
Following the speeches, children from Oriel Primary School in Feltham and Heavers Farm Primary School in Croydon participated in several activities with the veterans, including making a Korean War medal and trying on Korean War uniforms.
While the schoolchildren were taking part in the activities, the remaining veterans had the opportunity to hear Captain Watt of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment talk about his experiences of Afghanistan, and to interact with representatives from the Navy and Army.
Given the engagement, fun and respect shown during the day, the event was deemed a success by all. Indeed, as one veteran who had travelled three hours to attend the day said:
Days like this are extremely rare and therefore extremely important; thank you for getting everyone together.