British veteran to be buried at UN memorial
By Kang Seung-woo
The remains of a British Korean War veteran will be buried Wednesday at the U.N. Memorial Cemetery (UNMC) in Busan 14 years after his death, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs (MPVA) said Sunday.
The family of Robert Steed Holman McCotter will visit Korea on Monday with his remains as part of the ministry's "revisit program" that will also involve 90 other veterans and their families from 11 countries, including the United States and Turkey.
On Wednesday, the ministry will hold the Turn Toward Busan ceremony, a one-minute silent prayer for U.N. troops killed during the war, at the memorial and McCotter will be buried there ahead of the event.
McCotter fought against North Korea after joining the war in September 1950 through August 1952.
During his lifetime, he wanted to visit Korea, but his ill health prevented a trip before he died aged 70 in 2001. However, he said in his will that he wished to be buried here.
McCotter's son and daughter-in-law, along with the British ambassador to Korea and the MPVA chief, will attend the burial ceremony.
The veteran will be the second to be laid to rest in the grounds who died after the war ended following Frenchman Raymond Joseph Benard, who was buried in May.
Until last year, the UNMC did not permit war veterans who died after the end of the Korean War to be buried here, but the policy was changed from the beginning of this year.
The MPVA has run the foreign veterans' revisit program since 1975 and many of them hoped to be buried next to their fellow soldiers.
"Thanks to the change of policy, the UNMC has gained momentum to stand tall as the holy land of world peace," the MPVA said in a statement.
"The ministry plans to help Korean War veterans who want to be laid to rest at the UNMC to pay tribute to their sacrifice during the Korean War."