The Words The Kwak Family

The War We Are Still Fighting

Chung Hwan Kwak
July 26, 2007

Given at the Universal Arts Center during the United Nations Peace Forces of the Korean War Memorial Federation Convention 2007, which was held from July 24 to 29, 2007

Honorable Korean War veterans from the sixteen nations who served with the United Nations Peace Forces who fought in defense of Korea, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman: It is my honor and privilege to address you this evening. Welcome back to the Republic of Korea, a nation blessed by God with freedom, hope and prosperity, built on the foundation of the blood, sweat and tears you and your fellow soldiers shed more than fifty years ago.

Unfortunately, this significant chapter in history has faded from the memory of many people. Yet, when viewed in light of humanity's long struggle for lasting freedom and peace, the Korean War is one of the most consequential conflicts in history. Its significance must be understood and its place in history should never be forgotten.

When we look from a global perspective, we recognize that the Korean War was the first of its kind. It was the first peacekeeping mission of the United Nations. It was the first war in which representative nations of the free world united together to protect freedom and peace against communist aggression. It was the first great conflict of the cold war.

The cold war was a time of ideological, political and military struggle. Communism, based on Marxism and Leninism, is atheistic, totalitarian, and imperialistic. The free-market, democratic nations upheld freedom of religion, and individual human rights.

During the cold war, the Berlin Wall served as a firewall separating the Western democracies from communism. At that time, communism clearly hoped to dominate Western Europe in the same way that it had dominated Eastern Europe.

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), roughly following the thirty-eighth parallel as it bisects the Korean peninsula, has functioned in a similar way in the Asia-Pacific region. If each of you, your families, your nations and the UN Peace Force had not been willing to enter the Korean War, the entire peninsula would have been brought under communist control and domination.

Just imagine what might have happened if you had not been willing to take responsibility, at the risk of your life, for a people and a nation that had no obvious relevance to your life and your security.

What could have happened?

First of all, if the Korean peninsula as a whole had fallen, Japan would have been isolated and vulnerable. It had no military in the post-World War II era. Japan, at that time, had an active Communist Party with representatives holding seats in parliament. Had Korea fallen to communism, Japan would very likely have fallen as well. Stalin had, at that time, a serious, strategic goal to dominate Japan.

If Korea, and later Japan, had been dominated by the Soviet Union, the United States would have lost its two staunchest allies in the Pacific. America's capacity to have a strong presence in East Asia and the Pacific would have been greatly compromised and weakened. As such, the very vulnerable Pacific island nations would have fallen like dominoes.

As young men, you fought to protect not only a small nation in the Far East but the freedom and peace of all the people of the world. The thirty-eighth parallel that divides the Korean peninsula, like the Berlin Wall in the West, was the border line between the free world and communism, between an open society and tyranny, between prosperity and poverty.

After the end of the First World War, all the colonies of defeated nations were liberated. With the end of the Second World War, the colonies of both the defeated nations and the victorious nations were liberated. Meanwhile, Korea was divided into north and the south at the thirty-eighth parallel. How could this have happened? One might have expected that Japan, one of the aggressor nations in World War II, would have been divided, as Germany was. Why, instead, was Korea divided?

There is a spiritual reason for this development, which cannot be explained without understanding God's providence. Throughout history, following the Fall of Adam and Eve, God has tried to restore his lost sons and daughters. During the process of restoration, righteous people have often suffered more than the unjust; and goodness has also faced persecution. Time and time again, good people have suffered while the forces of evil seemed to gain power and influence. In order to save or restore fallen humanity, God has to sacrifice the righteous and humble in order to save the unjust and arrogant.

Father Moon came to a realization of this truth. It is actually a principle by which God advances his providence of restoration.

If we understand this principle, we can see that the Korean peninsula has become a sacrificial altar and the Korean people the offering. As we know also from biblical scripture, an offering must be divided.

Furthermore, it is also the case that the reunification of Korea, now divided in two, cannot be achieved without the involvement of God. The history of our division, as seen from God's providence, is not just a division of a territory or even simply the division of a people who share the same history, culture, and language. The division of Korea represents the division between theistic and atheistic value systems.

Therefore, in order to overcome the division of the Korean peninsula and bring about its unification, we must eventually reconcile these two worldviews, one centered on spiritual values and the other centered on materialism.

God's providential will is to open a path that leads humanity to lasting peace and salvation. The reunification of Korea is the model for global peace and unity.

The source of true peace and unification can be found only in God. Peace and unification are not brought about by human endeavors alone. Peace and unification are possible only when we practice true love, in accordance with the principles of God's providence.

God's providence of restoration is truly profound. From a political, economic and social point of view, it may seem that your participation in the Korean War came about according to your own will or the will of your government. However, in reality, the invisible hand of God, working for the salvation of humankind, chose you to become a part of this noble army that was created for the purpose of protecting the Korean peninsula.

Respected veterans of the Korean War, the fall of the Berlin Wall brought an end to the cold war in the political, economic and social arenas. Yet, while the Soviet Union has fallen, the cold war is still alive, particularly when we consider the ongoing divisions that remain in the realms of ideology, human consciousness and culture. These "internal" divisions -- between materialism and spiritualism, between selfishness and unselfishness, between moral idealism and moral relativism -- are in fact more fundamental and difficult to resolve.

Even here in South Korea, the communist ideology still has its proponents. They claim, falsely, that you and other UN Peace Force veterans were part of an invading army or occupation army.

Materialism, secular humanism, and theories of sexual liberation are still promoted, and they are infiltrating the culture and the society -- our families, workplaces, local communities, and the internet -- without our understanding and awareness.

Throughout the world there are movements that encourage family breakdown, the deterioration of sexual order and ethics and the corruption of youth. The movements are rapidly spreading throughout the world.

The Berlin Wall and the thirty-eighth parallel were representative front lines in the cold war. But now, in this age, we are facing a new front line that needs to be fought on the level of our families, local communities, workplaces and the internet.

This new threat is spiritual and moral in nature. We must now rise again to protect our core values and our families from this threat. The precious sacrifices that you made must bear fruit in the realization of a true world of peace.

Out of the ashes of the Second World War the United Nations was established. At the same time the cold war intensified.

Let us now take the lead in renewing the United Nations so that it can become an institution that truly serves the cause of universal freedom and peace. Let us look beyond the interests of particular nations, religions or ethnic groups to establish one global family of humankind.

In September, in New York, Father Moon will convene a global assembly of the Universal Peace Federation, which is to rise as a new United Nations that aligns itself with God's providence. Through UPF, the world will be transformed. We are moving into an age when the barriers of race, religion, nationality and culture will be overcome, and when we can live together as one family under God.

This vision can be realized because of your sacrifice.

Once I again I extend my deepest respect and appreciation to you for you commitment and life-long dedication to the eternal cause of freedom and peace.

I pray that God's comfort and blessings be upon those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you very much. 

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