Activist lobbies for national war memorial
At 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, Hannah Y Kim, a woman with a mission, will visit the Korean War Memorial in Wilsonville and present a commemorative wreath.
This will be her fifth stop on an ambitious three-month journey visiting Korean War Memorials in all 50 states, to honor and remember those who served in that conflict from 1950-53. Kim aims to help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. Given the level of tensions in the region today, her mission could not be timelier.
Kim also hopes that her journey will raise awareness about the Wall of Remembrance, the long-overdue addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Wall was approved by Congress in 2016, but a lack of funding has delayed its construction for several years. As a result, the names of the nearly 37,000 Americans who died in Korea are still waiting to be inscribed for posterity.
Kim's activism on behalf of Korean War veterans began in 2008, when she was a 24-year-old graduate student in Washington, D.C. and established "Remember 727," an organization dedicated to honoring veterans of the so-called "Forgotten War." Hannah lobbied Congress to enact legislation, signed by President Obama in 2009, that established July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.
She subsequently worked for Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a decorated Korean War veteran, as his communications director and later as his chief of staff. When Congressman Rangel retired in 2017, Hannah embarked on an epic journey around the world, visiting every country that was part of the UN effort during the war. She interviewed 200 veterans to memorialize their stories, because, as she told them, "If you hadn't fought in Korea, I wouldn't be here."
Representatives from the Korean War Veterans Association/Oregon Trail Chapter, the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Portland, the Korean War Memorial Foundation of Oregon and the City of Wilsonville will be present for a brief ceremony May 5, which is open to the public.
The Korean War Memorial is located in Wilsonville's Town Center Park, 29600 S.W. Park Place.