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National tour brings activist to Danbury’s Korean War Memorial

July 14, 2018

DANBURY — The Korean War Memorial at Rogers Park will get a visit Monday morning from a veterans’ advocate working her way through war memorials in all 50 states.

Hannah Y Kim, a Korean War veterans’ activist, began her tour of 70 memorials devoted to the war across the country in April with the goal of meeting with veterans and raising awareness about the “Forgotten War.” Rogers Park will be her only stop in the state with an event at 10 a.m.

“I encourage people to visit, take a stroll, take your kids and reflect on how we even enjoy the freedom that we do,” Kim said.

The tour of memorials, which will stretch three months, is also to bring attention to the Wall of Remembrance, an addition to the National Korean War Veterans Memorial that has been delayed due to a lack of funds since it was approved by Congress in 2016, Kim said.

It is the latest effort in Kim’s mission of advocating for Korean War veterans. The Korean-American said she affectionately calls each of the veterans her “grandpas” because she credits them for her family’s ability to immigrate to the country and allow her to “live the American dream.”

She added that the nationwide journey has become even more relevant considering the recent talks between the United States and North Korea. The talks might make it easier for families of Korean War soldiers who are still unaccounted for, 77 from Connecticut, to find and bring home their remains, she said.

“I hope that while these peace talks are taking place that we all come together and remember the fallen and hope for peace so that every single one of the POW/MIAs will come home,” Kim said.

Kim established Remember727, an organization dedicated to honoring Korean War veterans, in 2008. She then lobbied Congress to pass legislation establishing July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in 2009 and worked as the communications director and chief of staff for Korean War veteran and U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, who represented New York’s 13th district.

After Rangel retired, Kim decided to visit each country that was involved in the Korean War and interview 200 veterans. The nationwide tour has also given her the opportunity to meet with veterans in each of the states.

“For me, it’s personal because I’m Korean-American,” Kim said. “Two million Koreans are thriving in America thanks to the Korean War veterans. They gave their youth, many quite literally gave their arm and leg and too many gave their lives...I’m simply here to say thank you.”

aquinn@newstimes.com

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