President Moon Jae-in has vowed utmost respect to those who sacrificed and devoted their lives to their country.
Moon had a luncheon with war veterans and patriots at the Blue House on Thursday a day ahead of the 71st anniversary of the Korean War a bloody conflict that tore a nation in two.
"We have welcomed national persons of merit, honored patriots and families as state guests. Patriotism is at the heart of the Republic of Korea. For a stronger Republic, I ask you to pass down your legacy of patriotism. The government will show the highest level of respect until the very end for your sacrifice and devotion to the country."
The guests were provided with state-level treatmentreceiving a police escort on their way to the Blue House and were greeted upon arrival by National Security Advisor Suh Hoon, and Minister of National Veterans Affairs, Hwang Ki-Chul.
The month of June is time for remembrance for patriots and veterans in South Korea.
Ahead of the luncheon, Moon also gave medals in person to four people, including Korean and Vietnam war veterans, for their contributions.
The medals are usually given by the prime minister.
"I think it is very meaningful for me to bestow national medals personally. I express my deepest gratitude for the four people who devoted their lives to the country during their youth and have continued to pursue the spirit of sharing and co-existence all their lives."
President Moon said that South Korea has become a symbol of hope for the world in its fight to overcome COVID-19 and achieving economic recovery, stressing that he was able to confirm the country's changed global status during the G7 Summit last week.
He added that the world is calling South Korea a country which is strong in times of crisis saying that this has been earned through patriotism.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.