South Korea has invited more than 50 family members of American soldiers who were killed or missing in action during the Korean War, a related ministry said Friday.
It is part of the Korea Revisit program organized by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs in recognition of the help and sacrifice of US-led UN forces in the South's fight against the invading North Korea in the 1950-53 conflict.
|A group of family members of U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War participate in the Korea Revisit program hosted by the South Korean government in 2015. (Yonhap)|
The US dispatched 1.79 million service members and more than 33,000 of them were killed in action with nearly 8,200 others missing in action, according to official data.
The ministry said 53 children, siblings and other relatives of 27 victims will participate in the program to run from next Monday through Saturday.
It's meant to express sympathy for the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones, commemorate their sacrifice and show how it has helped South Korea develop, said the ministry.
"We hope the participants will realize that their families' sacrifices were not in vain and they can be proud of that," it said.
They are scheduled to visit the Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification at the Ministry of National Defense, attend an honor and tribute ceremony for US soldiers killed in the Korean War, and tour Panmunjom, a truce village in the demilitarized zone.
Those who will join the event include Michael Bruce Bliss, a son of Clarence Bruce Bliss who went missing in action at the age of 29.
He was quoted as saying that the loss of his father was a "terrible blow" to his whole family, which still hopes that he will return home some day.
"Visiting Korea will be a meaningful and almost sacred experience for me. It will be where my father gave his life. The chance to touch the soil where he died will somehow connect me closer to him and I am appreciative to the people in the US and Korea who are making this possible," Bliss said, according to the ministry.
A South Korean veterans association launched the Korea Revisit program in 1975. An expanded program has been hosted by the government since 2010 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. (Yonhap)