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Monument to Canadian Fallen

The Monument to Canadian Fallen commemorates the sacrifice of Canadian service members in the Korean War.

Busan, Korea

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Korean War

Visitor Information

93 UN Pyeonghwa-ro, Nam-gu, Busan, 608-812, Republic of Korea

The Monument to Canadian Fallen is open 24 hours a day.

Sacrifice remembered

The Monument to Canadian Fallen in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, South Korea, commemorates more than 30,000 Canadians who served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 and as peacekeepers in Korea until 1957. There is a slightly larger replica of the monument in Ottawa.

Veteran designer

The monument was designed by Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Korean War Veteran Vincent Courtenay, who managed the fund-raising effort from Korea, and created by Korean artist Yoo Young Mun.

The oval bronze base has two rings - the top is inscribed with the names of fallen soldiers and the bottom ring has a patriotic inscription. The bottom base is made of Korean granite.

Never to be forgotten

The monument is inscribed with the names of 516 Canadian soldiers who died during the Korean War. One soldier was too young for service in Korea and enlisted under his older brother’s name. Both names are recorded on the monument. Another soldier often used a pseudonym and was known by that name among friends, so he is identified by two names as well.

There was no machine to produce the words for the monument, so every letter - more than 6,000, was hand cut from rubber sheeting. The hand-cut names were glued to the plane of the base, a plaster splash was made and the raised letters were formed on the casting. The process distorted many of them and they had to be hand tooled to perfection. This was done for both the Canadian and Busan monuments!

Both Monuments to Canadian Fallen were cast in a hillside foundry in Korea, which was actually a tent rigged over a melting pot on one of the hills where Canadian soldiers once fought. The formed components were laid out on sand in their plaster splashes to cool, formed in the open air by artisans who had done the work all of their lives and lived there in the hills in huts.

Vincent worked with Yoo Young Mun in his small studio in Pocheon, near the Demilitarized Zone. Vincent designed every element and sculptor Yoo Young Mun translated them into a three dimensional form in composite. He then cut it in sections, made his plaster splashes, poured the bronze, welded the components together, treated the bronze with acid, painstakingly hand carved the granite plinth, then directed the workers who set the assembled bronze in place on the plinth in the Canadian Graves Section in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery.

It was designed with the entire United Nations Memorial Cemetery embracing it, so that the monument would become part of the overall architecture and capture its solemnity. The monument is the central view from any angle in the cemetery, with the Canadian statue looking at the graves of his buried comrades, keeping them company. There is a black stone walkway incorporated into the setting, specifically so that people can walk completely around it. This gives them the ability to locate the names of the Canadian fallen and to view the three figures from every vantage point.

Permission to place the monument within the cemetery grounds was challenging. The custodian had to win approval from the United Nations Cemetery commission, made up of Ambassadors from the 11 nations whose countrymen are buried there. No monument with statues of people had ever been permitted within the cemetery before.

The monument took almost three years to complete. It was set in place in September, 2001, dedicated on November 11, 2001, with Denis Comeau, Ambassador of Canada officiating, and rededicated and consecrated in April, 2002.

Symbol of friendship

The statue is an unarmed Canadian soldier holding a young Korean girl and guiding a Korean boy. At the feet of the soldier are the crests of the Royal Canadian Air Force (left), Canadian Army (center), and Royal Canadian Navy (right). The children represent the generations of Koreans who live in freedom thanks to those who served and those who made the supreme sacrifice. The girl is holding a bouquet of 21 maple leaves, representing the 16 Canadians with no known grave and the five Canadian sailors lost at sea. The boy is holding a bouquet in which maple leaves are mixed with roses of Sharon, the national flower of Korea, as a symbol of the friendship between the two countries.

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