Foreigners’ impressions of the city
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    Foreigners’ impressions of the city

    UN Memorial Cemetery, a shrine to peace

    UN soldiers who died in the Korean War lay interred at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea. Located in Busan Nam District’s Daeyeon-dong, it is the only such shrine in the world designated by the UN.


    The UN Memorial Cemetery is a precious place delivering the importance of peace and value of freedom to all those living with the scars of the war. Currently there are 2,300 UN soldiers interred there. There are also four wives buried together with their husbands according to the wives’ wills. Among the soldiers, Private Daunt was the youngest, a 17 year old soldier from Australia.


    At the British Commonwealth Memorial there is a Memorial Monument paying respect to the soldiers buried without bodies. The remaining people are paying respect in their own ways.


    At the UN Memorial Cemetery there is a son coming to meet his late father every day, although they have never met alive. Leo Demay, the Director of International Affairs of UNMCK (Office of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea) is the son. Leo Demay’s father passed away at age 20 in 1952 while fighting in the Korean War. Leo, born eight months later, was adopted and was living happily ? but after 50 years in 2006, his life changed.


     “I received a 50 page letter from my birth mother. It was about my father, which I heard about for the first time.”

    Leo Demay looked for his father by searching through the documents in the National Assembly in Canada. He was having a hard time finding his father until he came across one of his father’s friends ? the very person, in fact, who safeguarded his body until it was safe to bury. After learning all this history, Leo Demay visited Korea in 2007. His life in Korea, a land where he knows no one, started from then. Currently he is looking after his father’s burial plot in UN Memorial Cemetery and also greeting the visitors on behalf of the dead. He is also supervising the verterans’ family visiting events and also works in cooperation with each country’s ambassadors.


    Leo G.Demay

    Director of International Affairs Office of the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea

  • May 16, 2012