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Work begins on memorial garden at Langley arboretum

Garden is an addition to a Korean War memorial
Woo Seok Lee and Tae Young Kim of the Korean Veterans Association were at the groundbreaking for a new memorial garden for the Gapyong Stone at Langley’s Derek Doubleday Arboretum in November. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Work is underway on a Korean memorial garden, to complement the Gapyeong War Memorial, a monument to Canadians who fought in the Korean War.

The official groundbreaking took place on Monday, Nov. 28, at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum on Fraser Highway, with Korean and local dignitaries present.

Among those there were Woo Seok Lee and Tae Young Kim, of the Korean Veterans Association. Both men are in their 90s and fought for South Korea in the war that saw UN forces, including Canada, the U.S., Britain, France, and other nations, battle what would become North Korea and its ally China.

The stone itself commemorates the Battle of Gapyeong, also known as the Battle of Kapyong, when a small force of Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers, with U.S. artillery, held off a much larger force of the Chinese army north of the South Korean capital of Seoul.

It was one of a series of decisive battles that slowed the Chinese advance and prevented Seoul from being captured.

Michael Chang, a Korean-Canadian Langley businessman, facilitated the donation of the stone memorial, which was quarried in Gapyeong Country, and placed here as the first of several memorials donated to Canada in memory of the battle, and of Canadian soldiers’ service in the war.

“It is our duty to remember their service and sacrifice,” said Jongho Kyun, Consul General for the Republic of Korea in Vancouver.

Nial McGarvey, who is the assistant manager of parks development and design for the Township, said the garden will be centered on a pond behind the stone, with large stones forming a retaining wall on one side. A rain garden will link dry ditches running east and west of the site.

There will be a number of maples and other plants placed in and around the garden area.

Representatives from the Township, Langley RCMP, Rotary Clubs, and from the Arboretum Botanical Society of Langley were also present at the groundbreaking.

READ ALSO: Holding on to memory of Canada’s Korean War battles

READ ALSO: Langley battle memorial marks 70 years since pivotal clash in Korean War

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Local councillors, parks staff, the South Korean consul general in Vancouver, Rotarians, RCMP, Royal Canadian Legion members, and the Arboretum Botanical Society of Langley were all at the groundbreaking for a new memorial garden on Nov. 28. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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