WORLD renowned American business magazine Forbes has written affectionately about Gloucester mayor Chris Chatterton’s recent visit to South Korea.
The high-flying publication wrote at length about the unveiling of a multi-million pound memorial to the Gloucestershire Regiment who fought during the Korean War.
Mr Chatterton attended the ceremony in the city of Paju along with dwindling numbers of veterans who were said to have been ‘treated like heroes’.
Paju mayor In-Jae Lee masterminded the memorial as a fitting tribute to replace the existing small stone slab.
Reporter Andrew Salmon, from Forbes, shadowed Mr Chatterton at the visit to pen his 1,400-word feature. In it he says of the veterans: “Their shoulders held the sky suspended.”
The report has since been picked up by other news organisations such as the American network MSNBC.
Mr Chatterton said: “It is quite staggering to have this recognition for what was an incredible event.
“It was all about the veterans and it was absolutely right to have a presence there.
“The veteran Ben Whitchurch described it as a just war. They were just 19-year-olds travelling to somewhere they had never heard of but they believed in what they did and it gave the Korean people hope.
“We live in a cynical world when it comes to the issue of military intervention these days, but back then this was something very different. The efforts have been recognised all around the world as being exceptional.”
Veterans were full of admiration for the memorial. Speaking to Forbes, Harry Hawkesworth said: “It’s absolutely awesome, hard to explain – terrific.”
The memorial park marks the battle of the Imjin River which took place during the 1950 to 1953 conflict. An entire battalion from the Gloucestershire Regiment were wiped out after a three-day stand against huge odds.
Mr Chatterton’s visit last month, which was privately funded, saw him spend a week with South Korean dignitaries. Together Mr Chatterton and Mr Lee, the two city mayors, signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ to promote a new economical and cultural partnership between Gloucester and Paju.