Marking UN Forces Participation Day and the 68th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement, South Korea remembers the heroic efforts of United Nations troops to defend the country during the Korean War.
At a ceremony held at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday, President Moon Jae-in awarded state medals to two veterans for their sacrifices late Father Emil Joseph Kapaun from the U.S. and retired Australian Brigadier General Colin Nicholas Khan.
The medals were received by their family members.
It's the first time that a South Korean president has directly handed out the medals to mark the occasion.
"Through its participation in the Korean War, the UN wrote into history that unity and cooperation can protect freedom and peace. We hope the spirit of these two veterans to protect freedom and peace remains in our hearts forever."
Kapaun, a former captain of the U.S. Cavalry Division, was awarded the Taeguk Order of Military Merit.
He was renowned for boosting morale among prisoners of war and passed away in prison.
His remains, which were found in March were repatriated to his family members.
Former Army Brigadier General Khan of the Royal Australian Regiment was awarded the National Medal of Merit Pomegranate.
After his return to Australia, he took on the role of a private ambassador to educate people of the hardships of the Korean War and the rebuilding of Korea after the war.
UN Forces Participation Day was created in 2013 to honor the nearly two-million troops from 22 countries who fought alongside South Korea under the UN flag.
President Moon said South Korea will repay the veterans through unity and cooperation with the world to overcome the pandemic.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.