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1999 NCC News Archives

Five No Gun Ri Survivors, Three Korean War U.S. Veterans To Meet Nov. 10
First Encounter In 50 Years To Be Held During NCC 50th Anniversary

Open church service, Nov. 10, Noon, Old Stone Presbyterian Church, 91 Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio. Open to media and public.

Press Conference, Nov. 10, 4 p.m., Old Stone Center lounge, 1380 Ontario Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

Washington, D.C. Press Conference (with Korean survivors, no U.S. veterans), Nov. 12, 3 p.m., National Press Club, 529 14th St., N.W.

November 4, 1999, CLEVELAND, Ohio ---- Born during the Korean War, the National Council of Churches (NCC) at its 50th Anniversary Celebration will feature a recognition and remembrance ceremony between U.S. veterans and survivors of a high profile massacre that occurred during the Korean War.

On Nov. 29, 1950, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson was supposed to attend the National Council of Churches founding convention in Cleveland, Ohio, but the Korean War made it impossible for him to leave Washington, D.C. Acheson instead directed a major policy speech, "The Strategy of Freedom," in which he discussed the Korea crisis, to delegates at the convention which was broadcast over four radio networks.

On Nov. 10, 1999, during its 50th Anniversary Celebration in Cleveland, the National Council of Churches is hosting a meeting between five survivors of the July 1950 No Gun Ri massacre in Korea and three U.S. veterans of the Korean War who were in the unit that eyewitnesses said was responsible. This is the first time members of the two groups will encounter each other since the tragic event 50 years ago.

"This meeting, the first step in a process of remembrance and healing, is exactly the kind of 'truth and reconciliation' work the church should be and is doing all over the world," said the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, NCC General Secretary. Dr. Campbell hailed the courage and persistence of No Gun Ri survivors and family members in pressing for justice, while she also commented on the courage of U.S. servicemen who testified to their own participation in the massacre. "Going public with such admissions carries a heavy price for themselves and their families," she said.

At noon on Nov. 10, the survivors and veterans will make initial statements, then worship together at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. The NCC and NCCK will issue a joint statement at that time expressing their continuing commitment to the survivors. Following worship, the groups will meet privately for discussion. Following this meeting, at 4 p.m., there will be a press conference at the Old Stone Center lounge.

On Nov. 11, the survivors will travel on to Washington, D.C., and the U.S. veterans will return to their homes. On Nov. 12 at 11 a.m., survivors will meet with two Pentagon officials, Patrick T. Henry, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, and Charles L. Cragin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. They will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. at the National Press Club, Lissagor Room, 529 14th St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

The NCC was first asked by Edward Daily, one of the U.S. veterans, to facilitate such a meeting given its prior involvement in pressing the case of No Gun Ri survivors. The NCC, at the request of its South Korean counterpart, the National Council of Churches in Korea, last December (1998) had asked the Pentagon's response to detailed testimony from Korean survivors and eyewitnesses to the massacre of 400 innocent civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly. In March, the U.S. Army replied that it had "found no information to substantiate the claim that U.S. Army soldiers perpetrated a massacre of South Korean civilians at Nokuen-ri."

However, since new documentation and testimony gathered by the Associated Press has been published, the U.S. Department of Defense has reopened its No Gun Ri investigation.

"Our country, committed to uphold human rights, can do no less than to reopen the investigation and address the grievances of No Gun Ri survivors," Dr. Campbell said. "The South Korean victims and their relatives deserve justice."

A list of the participating Korean survivors and U.S. veterans follows.

 

Participants in the NCC's Nov. 10 No Gun Ri Remembrance in Cleveland, Ohio

Korean survivors:

1. Ms. Yang, Hae Sook (Birthdate 5/30/39)
Lost left eye, injured in stomach and ankle.
Her grandmother and two brothers were killed.

2. Ms. Keum, Cho Ja (Birthdate 8/15/39)
Received a stomach injury.

3. Mr. Chung, Ku Hak (Birthdate 5/2/44)
Lost his nose in the shooting.
His mother and sister were killed.

4. Mr. Chung, Eun Yong (Birthdate 4/18/23)
Director of Counterplan Committee of No Keun Ri
His son and daughter were killed. His wife was wounded seriously.

5. Mr. Chung, Koo Do (Birthdate 9/22/55)
Communicator for the committee.

U.S. Veterans:

1. First Lieutenant Edward Daily (retired), 68, of Clarksville, Tenn., was a Corporal in the H Company, Second Battalion of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry at the time of the No Gun Ri massacre.

2. Major Robert "Snuffy" Gray (retired) of Bayonet Point, Fla., was a Master Sergeant in the Reconnaissance Platoon at the time of the No Gun Ri massacre.

3. Sergeant First Class Donald Down (retired) of Elyria, Ohio, was a Sergeant in the F Company, Second Battalion of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry at the time of the No Gun Ri massacre.

-end-

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