End of Korean War Marks the 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. After three years of fighting a gruesome war under terrible conditions that tore a country apart, an armistice was declared on July 27, 1953, which marked the war’s end.

To commemorate the bravery of the more than 26,000 Canadians who served during the conflict and the 516 Canadians who lost their lives defending South Korea, every July 27 is known as Korean War Veterans Day in Canada.

“Today, on the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, we commemorate Korean War Veterans Day and pay tribute to the brave Canadians who served in the Korean War and defended our values of peace, freedom, and democracy,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement issued on Korean War Veterans Day.

6 Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Courtesy of: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: Paul E. Tomelin/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-183979 .

Crossing the Infamous 38th Parallel

On June 25, 1950, North Korea took the daring step of crossing the 38th parallel in an act of aggression that had not been seen since the establishment of the United Nations (UN).

North Korea’s aggressive actions caused global ripples, pulling international interest. Soon after, troops from all over the world were pouring in to support South Korea, including members of the Canadian military.


Troops of the 2nd PPCLI during patrol, March 1951. Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

Canadians endured terrible conditions during this war but persevered bravely. The most notable battles with Canadian participation were Hill 355 and the Battle of Kapyong. Sadly, 516 Canadians sacrificed their lives during this war.

“As we honour all those who served, we pay tribute to the 516 Canadians who never returned home and the many who were left physically and mentally wounded – a price they continued to pay upon their return to Canada.

“Today, we remember the tremendous price Canada’s service members and their families paid and we reaffirm our commitment to honouring their service and ensuring their well-being. We will continue to support them and their families by providing access to the care, services, and benefits they deserve,” commented Trudeau.

Normand Eaves, at the mike, and Norman McBain, at the controls, interviewing Lt. Col. James Dextraze, commanding officer of the Royal 22nd Regiment. Courtesy of: Library and Archives Canada/Credit: Paul E. Tomelin/Department of National Defence fonds/PA-183979.

Staying Behind for Years to Come

After the war, some 7,000 Canadians remained in the country. They served as peacekeepers on the Korean peninsula, helping to forge a warm bond that exists today between Canadians and South Koreans.

The last troops left Korea in 1957.

Dignitaries, Veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces attend a parade for Operation DISTINCTION 23 to honor the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice at the Wall of Remembrance at Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton, Ontario, on 27 July 2023.
Photo: Master Corporal Matthew Tower, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Canadian Armed Forces Photo.

Remembering Sacrifices

To honour the memory of those who served, sacrificed and lost in the Korean War, there are two Canadian monuments in South Korea. These monuments are the Canadian Korean War Memorial Garden and the Monument to the Canadian Fallen in Busan, Korea.

The sacrifices of Canadians did not go unnoticed. Today, Canada and the Republic of Korea share a lasting bond that has transformed into friendship and economic ties.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my deepest gratitude to our Korean War veterans. We are forever indebted to you for your service, and we honour your sacrifice, courage, and immense contributions to our country and to the world. We continue to be inspired by you as we build a more peaceful and more democratic world,” noted Trudeau.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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