Last weekend was the 67th Anniversary of the start of the Korean War, and Domingos and I attended a service in honor of the date at Jamsil Arena on Sunday morning. Some of his soldiers were performing alongside ROK military musicians, which is how we scored the invitation.
First up, the Honor Guard Drill Team, which I was excited to see had four female members!
Then there was a mens’ chorus made up of singers from all four branches of the Korean military.
Members of the 8th Army Band joined with Korean soldiers for the Herald Trumpets opening.
Every country that sent combat units or medical support was represented:
All four verses of the Korean national anthem were performed (who knew there were that many?), and I was mightily impressed whenever the camera was on General Brooks (commander of the USFK, United States Forces Korea) to see him singing the whole way through. He is one impressive man!
After a moment of silence (during which the orchestra played), a polished video tribute was shown, with veterans sharing short anecdotes interspersed with grainy video footage from the war. It was very moving, and I got a little choked up.
The Prime Minister was up next to deliver lengthy commemorative remarks which weren’t translated, so I have no idea what he said.
The “Commemorative Performance” listed in the program consisted of soldiers reenacting a scene from the war. (Just like Spirit of America, TUSAB folks!). However, there were very loud fake gunshots, small fireworks, and actual puffs of fire during the performance that scared the bejesus out of me. We could feel the heat of the flames all the way back where we were sitting! Considering the large number of elderly veterans present, I have to wonder at the choice to have loud gunfire, at the very least.
To close out the official part of the program, a veteran representing each regiment (I’m assuming) was escorted to the front with his unit’s flag.
The Closing performance was very impressive! At first, I thought I was watching a bunch of ROK soldiers perform a sort of Jazzercise routine.
Then, this happened, and I was completely blown away! It was even cooler than the soldiers rappelling down during Sprit of America.
Finally, this guy, who is apparently a famous Korean diva baritone, sang with a snazzy children’s chorus.
There was one last showing by the Herald Trumpets, and the event wrapped up.
I’m so glad we got to attend this service. It was moving and interesting one of those unique things about being here in Korea.