December 7, 2009
Christmas comes early to Korean War Comrades in Perley and Rideau Health Care Centre
A Christmas celebration comes early to our Korean War Veterans who are resident in the Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Care Centre in Ottawa.
Lieutenant Commander Bill Black (center), president of the National Capital Unit of the Korea Veterans Association of Canada shakes hands with Veteran and delivers Christmas greeting. Colonel Colonel Dong Kyun Kim, Korea’s Defence Attache, prepares to deliver presents. Bill was a submariner and that is the proud submariner’s badge that he wears above his service medals.
He reports that the KVA Unit held the Christmas party on December 2, with presents given to Veterans by the Unit, by Branch 616 of the Royal Canadian Legion, and by the Korean Embassy.
Bill notes that, “Although we have a somewhat 'scratchy' group of carolers, we all know the words - but sing a little off key! For the past many years the Korean Embassy traditionally brings the Christmas cake."
Bill explains that we have 23 of our Korean War Comrades at the Perley and they will never be forgotten.
Next summer, Korean War Veterans in the Perley probably will be visited by a delegation from Korea who will be in Canada to pay tribute to Veterans who could not be in Korea during the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Commemoration Year. Visiting hospitalized Veterans is one of their very strong interests.
There will be a Korea Week celebration in June, which is a long standing tradition in Ottawa. Korea’s Ambassador to Canada, the Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff and a large number of Veterans place wreaths both at the Monument to Canadian Fallen and at the National War Memorial.
The Veterans then are feted at the Korean Embassy. In 2010 this program is expected to be expanded to mark the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.
Terry Wickens, national President of KVA Canada, advises that a July 27 ceremony at the Korea Veterans Wall of Remembrance in the Toronto suburb of Brampton will be KVA Canada’s main event for the 2010 commemoration year.
He is hopeful that Veterans from across Canada will plan to participate in the service and a major banquet. A Korean delegation is expected to participate and make presentations to Veterans who are attending.
.Terry notes that there are 14 Korean War Veterans in residence there, among the 500 Veterans the hospital cares for.
Quite recently Terry, Hong-ji Park, Consul General for Korea and Chung Kook Park, president of the Korean Veterans Association Canada Eastern Chapter, assisted in honouring Veterans at Sunnybrook, during the traditional Korean War Veterans luncheon.
“We have held the event there for about 14 years,” Terry explains. “It started with just KVA Unit 71 visiting the hospital, as we took them under our wing. My wife and I still try to visit the hospital on a regular basis.
“It gradually developed that the Korean Veterans Association Eastern chapter got involved and we then had them invite a Korean Choir. When I was elected President of unit 71, I invited the Consul General to join us, and this has continued to the present day. Other veterans groups are invited to send a representative as well. Normally we get in excess of 100 people in attendance.”
Terry says there are also 15 Korean War Veterans in the Veterans Affairs Canada St. Anne Hospital in St, Anne de Belleville, Quebec and 13 more in the George Derby Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia. The St. Anne Hospital is reasonably close to Ottawa.
The George Derby Centre is close to Victoria and Vancouver and may receive a delegation of official visitors when a Korean warship makes a friendship call this summer.
Links to Veterans Association websites
Above article provided courtesy of the Korean War Veteran, email@example.com