UNVEILING a multi-million pound memorial to the Glorious Glosters in the South Korean city of Paju has left Gloucester mayor Chris Chatterton feeling ‘emotional’.
The huge beret sits against the backdrop of all the names of the Gloucestershire Regiment on the site of the Battle of Imjin River where they took part in the Korean War in 1951.
Paju’s mayor In-Jae Lee teamed up with Mr Chatterton to unveil the monument as a tribute more than 60 years after the Glosters’ efforts.
A message from Her Majesty was even delivered at the special ceremony on Wednesday.
Mr Chatterton, who remains in South Korea until the end of the week, said after the event, which was attended by veterans, that it had been ‘very emotional’.
In a speech to the congregation, he said: “The bravery shown by members of the Glorious Glosters is difficult to comprehend. Standing on this spot brings into sharp focus the challenges that were faced and the astonishing courage that was shown.
“As the years pass, and age takes its inevitable toll, the number of those veterans who were part of this action is sadly decreasing. It is fitting that the unveiling of this new memorial is able to take place in the presence of some of those brave souls who came here as young men and fought to defend the rights and freedoms that so many of us take for granted nowadays.
“However, we are at a crossroads in time, a time of generational change, and this memorial also signifies a passing of the baton to the next generation.
“On behalf of the people of Gloucester I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the people of Korea who have designed, funded and built such a fitting tribute to those that fell in battle.
“My hope is that this will serve to inspire all of us, and to cement the bond between the people of Paju and Gloucester. That will indeed be a fitting and lasting legacy to the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend life and liberty.”
Trade agreement is signed
Only when Gloucester mayor Chris Chatterton returns to our city will we be able to test the full potential of a new trade agreement signed with Paju.
Mr Chatterton told the Citizen in a phone call from his accommodation in the city that he was ‘delighted’ with how the signing of a ‘memorandum of understanding’ had gone on Tuesday.
It is designed to promote both economic and cultural links between Paju and Gloucester – and could be a boon for business in both cities who want to set up camp internationally or create new export arrangements.
Several Gloucester schools will see their pupils form new online friendships with their peers 5,000 miles away too.
Mr Chatterton, who has privately funded his trip, ended his visit to Paju yesterday and was heading to the capital city of Seoul for more cultural visits and to explore other opportunities across the wider country.
He admitted that the trip had left him ‘exhausted’ with long hours in his mayoral robes in searing temperatures of 30C and 90 per cent humidity.
Mr Chatterton will return to cooler temperatures on Monday but he will be hoping that the relationship between Paju and Gloucester will get hotter.
The city council’s regeneration team will be tasked with pursuing potential leads that could lead to new business.