The Wall of Remembrance

Public Law 114-230

Public Law 114-230 tasks this Foundation, The KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL FOUNDATION (KWVMF) with the support of the KOREAN WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION (KWVA) to add a ‘WALL OF REMEMBRANCE’ to augment the ‘POOL OF REMEMBRANCE’ of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

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U.S.President Barack Obama in October 2016 signed into law legislation authorizing the establishment of a “Wall of Remembrance” in Washington.

The United States led the 21-nation Allied Forces to help South Korea repel the Chinese-backed communist troops invading from the North. More than 36,000 American soldiers sacrificed their lives, and 103,000 were wounded.

The war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the divided peninsula still technically at war.

A Wall of Names becomes a home for those who will otherwise be forgotten; for they are now unknown to their people. Public Law 114-230 tasks the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation to add a Wall of Remembrance as part of the previously authorized Korean War Veterans Memorial to include, in regards to the Korean War: (1)  listing by name of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were killed in action; (2) the number of members who were wounded, listed as missing in action, or prisoners of war; and (3) the number of members of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSAs), the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, and the other 20 nations of the United Nations (U.N.) Command who were killed, wounded, missing, or prisoners.  The funding of this Wall of Remembrance will be by private donations; no public funds are authorized.

The intent and specific wording of PL 99-572 which authorized the Korean War Veterans Memorial, stated in part:“…..to  honor those members of the United States Armed Forces who served  in  the  Korean War, particularly those who were killed in action, are still  missing  in  action, or  were  held  as  prisoners  of  war.”  While that message is present in a subliminal sense as was intended by the Pool of Remembrance – sadly, that message is not conveyed to those who visit the Memorial.  Nowhere in our Nation is the extent of the ultimate sacrifice of our Soldiery fully presented, nor that of the 103,284 of their comrades who were wounded in action. And their memorial fails to prominently convey the extent of their sacrifice in obedience to the credo that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.

During the  design development stage by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board, attempts  were made to incorporate a means of  listing U.S. Killed In Action (KIA) by name; and by number the Korean Augmentation To United States Army (KATUSA); Republic of Korea (ROK); and United Nations Killed In Action (UN KIA) and, by number all Wounded In Action (WIA), Missing In Action (MIA) and Prisoners of War (POW).  For a variety of reasons, this concept was denied.

Because such listing was not approved, the final approved design hoped that the Pool of Remembrance would provide the subliminal message to honor the fallen as discussed above. If  visitors do see the numbers engraved in the granite stones, they do not convey the reality of almost 1000 dead and 3000 wounded month after month for 36 months of direct combat. What catches their eye is ‘FREEDOM IS NOT FREE’ but many miss relating that to the human cost!  

To fulfill the specific requirements and intent of PL 99-572, the building of the Wall of Remembrance will do so.  It is proposed to erect a laminated glass wall encircling the rear 180 degrees of the Pool of Remembrance. The Wall, being of glass, will not interfere with the panorama of the Mall to those transiting the circumference of the Wall.  Most importantly it will also give a sense of closure to the Memorial.

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