View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 25, 1997




On July 27, 1953, a negotiated cease-fire brought an end to the Korean War and to some of the most savage fighting in the history of America's Armed Forces. More than 54,000 Americans lost their lives, more than 103,000 were wounded, and thousands more were listed as missing in action. To a nation still recovering from the terrors and hardships of World War II, this conflict was a harsh reminder that freedom still had enemies at large in the world.

But the Korean War taught us that free nations could work together in partnership through the United Nations, standing firm against tyranny and in defense of liberty. We were reminded once again of the skill, courage, and indomitable spirit of our men and women in uniform. We learned that the American people were tough enough and determined enough to prevail in the long struggle of the Cold War.

Our victory in that struggle had its roots in the Korean War, and we owe our veterans of that conflict a profound debt of gratitude. Many of them were still scarred from the battles of World War II when they answered the call to duty in Korea. They fought a different kind of war in an unfamiliar land, facing a new and fiercely determined enemy. There they proved to all the enemies of freedom, and to the world, that America's commitment to liberty, democracy, and human rights was not only one of words, but also one of deeds.

Etched into the eastern wall of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in our Nation's Capital is the simple sentence, "Freedom Is Not Free." On this day we honor those who recognized the truth of that inscription and were willing to pay freedom's price with their own lives. We salute our men and women in uniform who served so valiantly in the Korean War, and we remember with sorrow and with pride all those who never came home.

The Congress, by Public Law 104-19 (36 U.S.C. 169m), has designated July 27, 1997, as "National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 27, 1997, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our Nation's distinguished Korean War veterans. I also ask Federal departments and agencies, interested groups, organizations, and individuals to fly the American flag at half-staff on July 27, 1997, in memory of the Americans who died as a result of their service in Korea.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


# # #