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First Veterans Day Remembrance At Korean War Memorial

photo of speakers and guests near memorial wall

photo of speakers and guests near memorial wall

On November 11, KWMF’s officers gathered with a few friends and supporters at the Korean War Memorial for its first Veterans Day remembrance. It was an informal but meaningful ceremony.

photo of KWMF Treasurer Don Reid, 2nd Vice President John Stevens, and President and Chairman Quentin Kopp speaking in front of memorial wall

KWMF Treasurer Don Reid, 2nd Vice President John Stevens, and
President and Chairman Quentin Kopp

photo of Deputy Consul General speaking to guests

Deputy Consul General Kim Rimin speaks to the guests

The ceremony began with brief remarks by KWMF’s officers and Deputy Consul General Kim Jimin of the Korean Consulate General in San Francisco. Then Judge Kopp and Deputy Consul General Kim placed a commemorative wreath in front of the Memorial wall.

photograph of Quentin Kopp with wreath

Quentin Kopp with wreath

Despite the modest gathering, there was a strong media presence.

A group photograph in front of the wall.

Gathering for a group photo. Third from right is Jean Fraser, Chief Executive Officer of the Presidio Trust, KWMF’s ally and partner in this Memorial project.

Photograph of Man J. Kim being interviewed for Korean-language television

KWMF Vice President Man J. Kim being interviewed for Korean-language television

Unexpected but most welcome guests included a contingent from the UK’s 22nd Artillery Regiment, Royal Army. Their unit has been training on an exchange program here in California, and they wanted to pay their respects on Veterans Day.

photo of four British troops from 22nd Artillery Regiment, Royal Army, standing in front of memorial wall

22nd Artillery Regiment, Royal Army

Note that these British troops all wear red poppies on their left breasts to commemorate the fallen, a tradition throughout the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth on Armistice Day (now called Veterans Day in this country). This practice used to be quite common in the United States, too, often on Memorial Day; but it has now gone somewhat out of fashion. The practice began in 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres in World War I, when the following poem by a Canadian medical officer gained widespread popularity:

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.