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In Tongyoung, South Gyeongsang Province on September 6, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) held a 'return of the fallen patriot' event for Sergeant Kim Jeong-kwon who died in the Korean War. At the event, the MND told the story of his efforts in the war and the process of the excavation of his remains to his bereaved family, including his wife, son, and younger sister. The ministry forwarded a written notice identifying the deceased, a plaque from the Minister of National Defense, and a 'patriotic spirit' box containing items left by him, including buttons, a toothbrush, and buckles.

 

Officials from local military units and the local government also attended the event to pray for the repose of the deceased who sacrificed his life for his country, and to comfort the bereaved family.

 

The return of the remains of the deceased to the family was the result of the bereaved family's active participation in DNA tests and the efforts of the MND Agency for KIA Recovery and Identification (MAKRI) for the excavation of the remains of those who died in the Korean War.

 

Kim Hyung-jin (aged 69), the son who had missed his father for a long period of time, was informed that he could help find his father’s remains through a program dedicated to the excavation of the remains of those who died in the Korean War. In 2010, he and his father's sister participated in DNA tests at a health center in Tongyoung. Afterwards, the MAKRI excavated the remains of an alleged South Korean soldier at the unknown 170 hill located at Mountain Bakdal in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on October 24, 2017, and through forensic identification and a comparative analysis of DNA collected from the bereaved family, was able this July to finally give a name to the remains of this unknown soldier: 'Kim Jeong-kwon.'

 

“As I heard, of the 133,000 soldiers who died on the battlefield and whose remains are still lost, the remains of 10,000 soldiers have been found so far; of these, only 128 soldiers have been identified and returned to families. The return of my father's remains is indeed a miracle beyond probability,” his son said.

 

After consultation with the bereaved family, it was decided that the remains of Sergeant Kim Jeong-kwon will be buried in Seoul National Cemetery.

 

 

 

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < droid001@dema.mil.kr >

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