물론, 부산을 방문해 특급 호텔에서 하룻밤을 보내는 것은 참전용사에게 특권이다. 하지만 빠듯한 일정으로 참전용사가 호텔 밖에서 에너지 넘치는 부산 사람을 접하는 일은 엄두를 내기 어렵다. 참전용사가 부산의 풍경을 보고 느끼며 휴식하고 일상을 느끼려면 지금보다 하루나 이틀의 시간이 더 주어져야 가능하다. 7년 전쯤으로 기억된다. 턴 투워드 부산 기념식을 마치고 참전용사는 부산 시내에서 거리 퍼레이드하며 환영 나온 부산 사람과 어울렸다. 따뜻하고 활기찬 야외 콘서트에서 한국인과 하나가 되었고 수준 높은 음악가와 가수의 공연은 한국을 다시 찾은 노병에게 감동을 안겨주었다. 부산은 모든 여행자가 만끽하고 소중히 추억해야 할 메카이다. 턴 투워드 부산에 초청받는 유엔 참전용사도 느낄 수 있기를 희망한다.
빈센트 커트니 턴 투워드 부산 제안자·부산명예시민
※ 영어 원문
Let us put more “Busan” into the MPVA’s
Turn Toward Busan veteran revisits
Fifteen years ago, on November 11, 2007, the first Turn Toward Busan ceremony was held in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan. At the same time, it was held in many nations around the world, including the United States and the British Commonwealth nations, and in most of the countries that sent armed forces to defend Korea during the 1950-1953 war.
Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs elevated the ceremony to national status and has supported it every year since. The MPVA has done a magnificent job. In 2007 there was only one foreign veteran participating in Busan. In 2008 there were only six. For the past several years the MPVA has flown more than 100 veterans or bereaved family members of those who died in the war to Busan to take part in the ceremony. That will happen again this year, when 103 veterans from 18 nations are invited to come to Korea for the Turn Toward Busan program. Despite the wonderful job that the MPVA has done with this international ceremony, I believe that it still could benefit from some adjustment and reorientation. Until now, the ceremony has been a one night and partial day event in a veteran revisit program that focuses mainly on Seoul.
However, the program and its very name, Turn Toward Busan suggests that it should be the great city of Busan that is the focal point of the five-day program. The veterans and visiting dignitaries should spend at least two days in this magnificent city to achieve that.
Busan can present in one or two full days the proof of the grand transition of South Korea from one of the poorest agrarian nations in the world to its position today as a leader in industry, technology, medicine, and the arts.
Expanding the program to focus on the great city’s many attributes could make the revisit program an important element in Korea’s efforts to bring the Expo30 World Fair to Busan in 2030. - especially if the great kindness of the Korean Government in paying for the veterans’ air fares and visiting those who cannot fly in their own country is also well publicized internationally.
Most veterans arrived in Korea at Busan during the war. They will remember a very poor city with shabby, rusted waterfront warehouses, dilapidated scows, barges, tramp steamers, naval ships, crowding a harbor filled with dirty water.
Today, given an extra day or two in Busan, they can see the great city in its growing magnificence - a true, vibrant, ultramodern metropolis with natural amenities that no other great city in Asia, or the world, can offer.
Where else can there be soaring oceanfront hotel and apartment towers with such magnificent views, and gorgeous sand beaches with splendid sparkling clean blue waters for bathing and water sports, or abundant modern hospitals and other health care facilities, and regular passage by both ship and air to virtually every other major nation in the world?
The world does not know well enough the Busan International Film Festival that is prized and respected by actors and directors in all the major cinema arts production centers. It is held in the Busan Cinema Center, itself an architectural gem that still is not well known in other nations ? and even within Korea.
The Cinema Center will be joined soon by the magnificent Seoul Opera House, sure to be a world landmark and a wonder to behold! It will draw the finest voices not just from Korea but from every major operatic center in the entire world. Over time it will bring millions of visitors to Busan and South Korea.
Even the magnificent ocean front resorts of this great city are not well known in the world’s metropolitan circles. Yet the grand resorts along Haeundae Beach and elsewhere in Busan have long outshone those in Miami Beach, and rival even those of the finest hotels along the French Riviera!
Of course, visiting Busan, and staying overnight in one of the magnificent resort hotels is a privilege for the veterans, but they do not have time to see much outside of their hotel room, and they do not get to meet the singularly wonderful, energetic people of Busan!
They need an extra day or two to spend time in the people’s shopping areas, and their living areas, and their wonderful recreational areas.
Some years ago, the veterans marched in the Nam Gu district and mingled with the delighted welcoming people. They mixed with the people at a warm, energetic outdoor concert where amazing local musicians and singers captivated the visitors from many foreign nations.
Currently, because of the demanding time schedule for the Busan portion of the revisit, veterans do not even get to visit the UN Peace Memorial Hall. It was built near the UN Memorial Cemetery, specially to anchor the UN Peace Memorial Zone that includes that region of the great city.
Yet how can the UN Peace Memorial Hall become known internationally and play its intended role if even the Korean War Veterans and their dependents and bereaved family members do not visit it when they are in Busan?
Perhaps the City of Busan can organize a full day for the veteran group, perhaps even finance all or part of it, so that the MPVA can mesh it into their overall program within their regular budget.
Such a possibility is well worth the discussion and exploration, both here in Busan and in conjunction with the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and other agencies. This Busan is indeed a mecca that every traveler should savor and hold precious forever. The veteran groups, and rest of the world need to know it!
Initiator Turn Toward Busan international ceremonies to honor the Korean War Fallen