(WASHINGTON) — President Obama will commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the Korean War armistice Saturday, marking the end of hostilities on the peninsula.
Communist North Korea invaded South Korea with 135,000 troops on June 25, 1950, and three years later with more than 2.5 million dead, including more than more than 36,000 Americans who died in combat, the war ended.
Joined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Obama will lay a wreath at the memorial in Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, Obama issued a declaration making today National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, noting that the conflict “defined a generation and decided the fate of a nation.”
“We remember ordinary men and women who showed extraordinary courage through 3 long years of war, fighting far from home to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” Obama said in his proclamation. “This anniversary marks the end of a war. But it also commemorates the beginning of a long and prosperous peace.”
It is often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” because fighting half a world away garnered little domestic attention at the time. But the remnants of the conflict are still felt today. North Korea and South Korea remain divided, and there is still no peace treaty between the two countries.
According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs there are still 2 million living veterans of that war.
“No monument will ever be worthy of their service, and no memorial will fully heal the ache of their sacrifice,” Obama said in the proclamation. “But as a grateful nation, we must honor them — not just with words, but with deeds.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Cimaron Neugebauer, KUTV
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN