– Area lawmakers and leaders of the region’s Korean community gathered in Montgomery Township to highlight a state grant that will support construction of the Korean War Memorial America-Korean Alliance Peace Park.
The memorial and park will commemorate Pennsylvania and Republic of Korea veterans who fought in the Korean War, as well as honor the thousands of active duty service members who serve as peace keepers today.
“This park not only honors those who lost their lives but also helps to celebrate all that unites us,” said Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery), a leading advocate for the grant. “Our countries are nearly 7,000 miles from one another. Our food, our customs and our languages are very different from one another, but nonetheless, we share bonds of being free and democratic societies.”
Construction of the park will be supported by a $224,162 grant awarded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through its Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. Lawmakers who advocated for the grant, including Harper, Reps. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) and Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia), and Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery/Bucks), were on hand for the event Thursday morning.
“This is a wonderful project that will honor the men and women who fought gallantly to preserve freedom in Korea, and celebrate the valuable relationship between our two countries that is built on both friendship and liberty,” said Stephens, another leading advocate for the project who helped secure the land on which the park will be located. “I want to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting this project, and I particularly want to thank Montgomery Township officials who have agreed to host this wonderful park on preserved land in the township.”
The park will provide an area of reflection and contemplation, offering seating and comfort for passive recreation, as well as a location for the community to gather together.
“With a Peace Park, we are demonstrating our own spirit and pride through showing our history and culture. It’s not just a monument,” said Master Bong Pil Yang, general secretary. “Thank you again to Reps. Harper, Stephens and Murt, and also Sens. Greenleaf and Mensch. Through their help and effort, we have finally secured a grant.”
Murt said there is much to be learned from the relationship between America and Korea. “When there is mutual respect among people, we can accomplish so much together. The park will serve as a constant reminder of the importance and value of respecting one another.”
“We have many Korean War veterans living in Montgomery County, but fewer with every passing day,” said Greenleaf. “This park will provide our communities with a great opportunity to share the importance of the history of the United States’ relationship with the Republic of Korea, to remember those who served on the Korean peninsula previously and currently, and to celebrate the cultural influence that we are fortunate to experience. Many people have worked for many years to bring this memorial park to fruition – it is a tremendous honor to have been involved in securing funding to help finally make this dream a reality.”
As the project moves forward, the township plans to enter into a license agreement with the Korean War Memorial America-Korean Alliance Peace Park, where the entity will maintain the memorial while the township owns and maintains the park and access to the memorial.
The grant will help construction of an access path, a viewing area and the installation of benches. The memorial will be funded separately using donations from the “Buy a Brick” campaign being conducted by the Korean War Memorial America-Korean Alliance Park Inc.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster