On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the fall of Daejeon during the Korean War, I got up early this morning to visit Mt. Bomun or as it called in Korean Bomunsan to visit two Korean War memorials/monuments. I had no idea about these monuments in Daejeon until Mr. Chi Kap-chong told me about them when I was working on the article about the Korean War Participation Monuments for the Joong Ang Ilbo.
I thought it was quite far from where I live in Jayang-dong (near Woosong College), but as it turned out it was only about a fifteen-minute taxi ride away (well, maybe it wasn’t that close—I walked back and it took me about an hour). The monuments are located about a hundred meters up a small road that branches to the left (another road to the right takes you to a Buddhist temple).
The first monument is one dedicated to the United Nations and the U.S. 24th Division that bought crucial time for other US and UN forces to establish the Pusan Perimeter. It’s a simple, yet sober monument reminding one that the Korean War was fought under the flag of the United Nations and the great sacrifice that so many made in the defense of South Korea.
This is the inscription on the plaque:
To the Heroes of the Taejon Battle
Freedom is a lofty aim of man and the lifeblood of his soul. Eternal peace is another equally sacred ideal of man. Here was written a page of the glorious history of the United Nations in its efforts to defend freedom and peace for mankind.
The Communist army, which launched a treacherous invasion into the free south at the dawn of June 25, 1950, continued its advance after occupying Seoul. As free nations of the United Nations rose in repelling the aggressors, the 24th U.S. Division—the vanguard of the U.N. Forces—first engaged the enemy at Osan on July 5. The enemy finally surrounded and attacked Taejon on July 17. The 24th Division, outnumbered, staged a furious defense which lasted for 20 days until its commander Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, was missing in action while commanding the battalion at the front.
This humble monument is dedicated to the heroic action of the 24th Division in defense of freedom and peace.
March 31, 1959