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Disabled Korean vets start handcycle journey in U.S.

Disabled Korean vets start handcycle journey in U.S.

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Published : 2013-07-23 20:07
Updated : 2013-07-23 20:07

Severely disabled Korean veterans started a seven-day, 600-kilometer handcycle journey in the United States Monday, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement.

According to the Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs, the 16 veterans who are paralyzed from the waist down set out from United Nations headquarters in New York, powering the tricyles with their arms, on Monday. They will arrive at their destination, Annapolis, Maryland, on July 28.
Korean veterans with paralysis, along with New York Consul General Son Se-joo (second from left, front row) and other officials hold a ceremony before the start of a 600-km handcycle journey in front of the U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday. (Yonhap News)

They read out a letter thanking U.N. member countries for fighting alongside South Korea against the communist North in the 1950-1953 conflict before embarking on the journey.

On July 27, they will attend a special ceremony to mark the Korean War Armistice Day at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. U.S. President Barack Obama will join the ceremony.

They are scheduled to read a letter of gratitude to the American people in front of the White House.

On July 28, they will join members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, then race together to an Annapolis lighthouse in Maryland, where they will conclude the event with the declaration of a statement emphasizing the necessity of the South Korean-U.S. alliance.

The event participants are veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the second naval battle between South and North Korea, which happened near a northwestern South Korean island in 2002.

A handcycle, also called a handbike, is a land vehicle powered by the arms rather than the legs, as on a bicycle. Most handcycles are tricyle in form, and usually used by people with a wide variety of disabilities.

By Chun Sung-woo (swchun@heraldcorp.com)

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