Korean War Veterans Memorial addition unveiled in Washington

Flowers lay along The Wall of Remembrance which was dedicated Wednesday, an addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial, that features the names of 36,574 Americans and more than 7,200 members of the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army who died while protecting South Korea. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

July 27 (UPI) — A new addition and complete renovation to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was officially dedicated Wednesday, coinciding with National Korean War Armistice Day.

“Today is a momentous occasion, where the long-term dream of the veterans comes to reality, the addition of the Wall of Remembrance to the Korean War Memorial,” retired U.S. Army Gen. John H. Tilelli and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation told the crowd at Wednesday morning’s dedication ceremony.

The project included a full renovation of the existing memorial, as well as a new addition, the Wall of Remembrance.

“The wall of remembrance has inscribed on it 36,634 Americans and 7,174 Korean augmentees to the United States Army, integrated, not separated, because they died in American units fighting with American soldiers,” said Tilelli, who commanded U.S. forces in Korea from 1996 to 1999.

Louis Nelson, an Army veteran and the industrial designer behind the Wall of Remembrance, told Military.com that the design for the memorial was inspired by a photo of his cousin in a military cousin at his grandmother’s house.

“She had it up on the mantel and she had another one on her bet stand,” he said. “He was stationed in Japan and had served in Korea. Of course, the only other way that you remember and honor somebody is, you have a photograph of them. So it was just as important for me then that the wall would be a photograph.”

The memorial features 2,500 images of service members that served in the war sandblasted into the black granite, along with images of weapons, equipment and vehicles used in the war.

“Some of the faces would be life-size so that you would have eye-to-eye contact. Somehow or another, they would see that this is the face of America that we sent to war,” Nelson said. “They look like the kids of today, and I think they will look the same 20 years from now.”

National Korean War Armistice Day marks the end of the war with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953.

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on Tuesday, honoring the 1.8 million Americans who served in the three-year conflict.

“On this day, I encourage all Americans to reflect on the strength, sacrifices and sense of duty of our Korean War Veterans and bestow upon them the high honor they deserve,” Biden said in a statement. “I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War Veterans.”

A man points to a name on the Wall of Remembrance, an addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial from the National Parks Service and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation. The wall was dedicated on July 27. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo