President Yoon and First Lady Kim visit the Pacific National Cemetery

First official visit to Hawaii to lay wreaths at Pacific National Cemetery

By Diplomacy Journal Lee Jon-young


President Yoon Suk-yeol and First Lady Kim Keon-hee visited the Pacific National Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 8. The cemetery was established in 1949 and is home to veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.


Upon arriving at the cemetery, the President and First Lady were led by James Horton, Director of the Pacific National Cemetery, to lay a wreath and honor the U.S. veterans interred at the cemetery. After laying a wreath, they greeted and thanked the six Korean War veterans in attendance.



The President and First Lady then visited the grave of the late Benjamin Wilson (1921-1988), a U.S. veteran of the Korean War who was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valiant soldier of the U.S. Armed Forces can receive, for distinguished service in the Korean War. 


The late Benjamin Wilson was a soldier who fought to the death in the Battle of Hwacheon on June 5, 1951, where he defeated a large number of enemy soldiers and, despite being wounded, made a decisive contribution to the victory of the battle by providing cover for the withdrawal of his comrades.


From the U.S. side, the ceremony was attended by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Paparo, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, Mr. Paul LaCamera, Commander of the U.S. Forces in Korea, Mr. Rick Blangiardi, Mayor of Honolulu, Mr. James Horton, Director of the Pacific National Cemetery, and U.S. veterans.


On the ROK side, Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul, National Security Adviser Jang Ho-jin, Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Kang Ho-pil, Ambassador Cho Hyun-dong, Consul General Lee Seo-young, First Deputy Director of the National Security Office Kim Tae-hyo, Chief of Public Affairs Lee Do-woon, and Secretary of Defense Choi Byung-ok.