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Korean War veterans, referents in the world for their heroism

August 08, 2018

Korean War veterans, referents in the world for their heroism The great achievements of these heroes were remembered within the framework of the 199th anniversary of the Army
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I have fought three wars, I have commanded and I have seen the best soldiers in the world fighting. I think there is nothing new in terms of heroism and fearlessness, but when I saw the Colombian battalion fight, I saw the greatest and most proud soldiers ever, said General Blackshear Bryan, Commander of the 24th Infantry Division in Korea.
Over 40 veterans of the Korean War reside in the department of Meta; three of them were members of the First, Second and Third Battalion Colombia, and were in the group of professional soldiers who were part of the international conflict that was lived in 1950. These men responded with honor to the call of the United Nations (UN) to the Laureano Gmez administration, which contributed with 4750 men during 3 years of conflict.

On the occasion of the celebration of August 7, we honor the Korean War veterans who live in the department of Meta.

The professional soldier Manuel Antonio Cepeda-Barreto, from Restrepo, Meta, aged 83, remembers with pride the day he made the decision to be part of the Colombia Battalion. He was taking the NCO course and needed little to be promoted; without thinking twice, he decided to be part of the heroes who would go down in history, heightening the name of Colombia.

Although his father objected as he was the only male among five sisters, he did not pay attention to him, to his young age nor the pleas of his mother. He left at 17 years old, convinced to be and to do what his heart dictated; he was a hero of the country in distant lands.

He crossed the world by land, sea and air to reach his destination, the Port of Pusan on the Korean peninsula, where he was added to the Seventh Division of that country. There, he fought the enemy army almost every day, for a year, in the line of fire, successfully defeating it, during a war that was not his, but which he swore to defend in the name of of his motherland and of freedom.

Thanks to these actions, his name was recorded in the history book of Colombia and is respected and valued in the department of Meta by government entities, the Military and Police Forces, the guilds and the society in general, the greatest recognition that a man brave wishes to have.

He has spoken of his experience in the war over a thousand times and never gets tired of telling it, because he wants it to be passed down from generation to generation, as he is proud of what he lived there. For the time being, 700 veterans who are still alive carry on their chest the shield that intertwines the flags of Colombia and South Korea as a single Nation, symbolizing the union and victory of freedom.

The veterans of the Korean War are associated in ASCOVE (Colombian Association of Veterans of the Korean War), founded on September 16, 1959 with the purpose of grouping the veterans and keep alive the memory of the feat of the Colombian troops. This entity works hand in hand with the embassy of South Korea, a country with permanent gratitude and support for Colombian ex-combatants, to support academic and welfare programs for the heroes who gave everything for their fellow citizens.

On May 30, 2018, the Congress of the Republic of Colombia, through the Second Permanent Constitutional Commission, was approved, in the first debate, the Bill 234 of 2018 of the House of Representatives, which seeks to pay tribute and benefits to the veterans of the Public Force, among other provisions. This progress is made after 60 years to recognize these heroes who bravely and courageously faced the ups and downs of war.