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News / Clark County News

Clark County Korean War veterans honored

Consul general of Republic of Korea awards medals for their ‘selfless sacrifice’

By Carlos Fuentes, Columbian staff writer
Published: October 13, 2023, 7:01pm
6 Photos
Consul General Eunji Seo gives Army veteran Edward Barnes a medal. More than a dozen Korean War veterans received medals at the event.
Consul General Eunji Seo gives Army veteran Edward Barnes a medal. More than a dozen Korean War veterans received medals at the event. (James Rexroad for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A crowd of veterans and their families filled the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver on Friday to welcome Eunji Seo, consul general for the Republic of Korea based in Seattle.

At the event, held on the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea, Seo awarded peace medals to more than a dozen Korean War veterans.

“This alliance has bolstered friendship, peace and prosperity between our two nations,” Seo said. “It is due to the unwavering commitment and selfless sacrifice made by the brave American soldiers during the Korean War that we stand here today united and proud.”

As one of 12 consulate generals for the Republic of Korea in the country, Seo serves as a representative for South Korean residents in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana.

Several speakers addressed the room before the ceremony, including Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Washington State VA assistant director Mary Forces and Byung Ji, co-chairman of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Committee in Clark County.

“We will never forget that because of you, the Republic of Korea stands as a modern democracy for us all to emulate,” Forces said to the veterans in the room.

Following the ceremony, Seo joined the veterans in the room for lunch, before continuing her daylong visit to Vancouver.

Seo became the consulate general in Seattle in 2022, after years of experience in public diplomacy. Most recently, she worked with South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a director general for public diplomacy and director general of the 2021 Seoul United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial.

Seo previously spent time working at the Korean consulate in San Francisco, where she helped connect Korean Americans with resources for legal issues, such as getting visas and renewing passports.

In Seattle, aside from administrative duties, Seo is responsible for fostering Korean culture and community in the United States.

Before the ceremony, Seo met with McEnerny-Ogle to discuss opportunities for Vancouver to foster community in its Korean population. Some of the ideas included starting a Korean language immersion school and creating a sister city relationship between Vancouver and a Korean city.

“We continue to work together with the Korean community toward peace and mutual respect and equality for all,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “And not just for those many years ago, but even today and for tomorrow as we develop a friendship city so that we can share the cultural joy of each other.”

Columbian staff writer