After agreeing to set up memorial markers for South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (NMCP) in Honolulu, Hawaii, the US is now preparing to set up a memorial headstone for Republic of China (ROC) servicemen, the Veterans Affairs Commission said.
The cemetery is dedicated to the men and women who served in the US armed forces during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Officials said the request to have an ROC memorial marker set up in the cemetery was made in 2011 by former Veterans Affairs Commission minister Tseng Jing-ling (曾金陵) when he attended the 112th Annual Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States in San Antonio, Texas.
Tseng had previously visited the cemetery to lay flowers as a token of respect and was escorted by a detail of US honor guards that fired a 21-gun salute in tribute to fallen soldiers.
Officials said Tseng told US authorities that the cemetery should include a memorial marker for the ROC because of the contributions made by ROC servicemen during World War II, adding that the headstone would also symbolize the longstanding military ties between the two nations.
“Many of our armed forces personnel lost their lives in World War II, as well as in the Vietnam and Korean wars,” Tseng said.
As defined by the US Navy, the Pacific theater of World War II included China, Southeast Asia and the Central and Southwest Pacific areas. China became involved in the Pacific theater when the Second Sino-Japanese War it was fighting with Japan at the time merged into the World War II front following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
Despite not being able to participate actively in the Korean War or the Vietnam War due to US intervention, the ROC government sent many volunteers to serve as translators with the UN intervention force on the Korean Peninsula.
The ROC took a more active role in Vietnam, where it trained South Vietnamese commandos and coordinated logistics.
The commission said that the US Department of Veteran Affairs announced it had accepted Tseng’s proposal in June, adding that both sides had agreed to install the marker at the cemetery today.
According to the commission, Tseng — although retired — paid for his own plane ticket to Hawaii to attend the inauguration ceremony.
Commission Deputy Secretary-General Sung Hai-sheng (宋海笙) and Chang Chih-fan (張志範), chief of the oversea affairs section, will be the commission’s official representatives at the event.
The commission said the marker was made in Taiwan and shipped to Hawaii by sea, adding that it featured the Taiwanese and US national flags, as well as the commission’s logo.
The marker is inscribed with a dedication written in Mandarin and English reading: “We Salute Those RIP in NMCP. Your Gallantry In Preserving Peace of Asia and Pacific Region Will Always Be Remembered.”