Violinist Won Hyung-joon played a series of solo performances at war memorials in major cities of countries that sent soldiers to fight in the 1950-53 Korean War. Won said he kicked off the project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.
The first performance was held at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in December last year, followed by a performance at the Korean War Memorial in London on Jan. 31. He said he wanted to show his respect to those that sacrificed their lives for Koreans they had never met before.
"This year marks the 70th year since the outbreak of the Korean War. But the Armistice Agreement still exists between the two Koreas under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Command (UNC)," Won said during an interview with The Korea Times in Seoul, Tuesday. "I will continue my solo performances at memorials to call for the UNC to play a bigger role in peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula … I am planning performances at war memorials in New York and Philadelphia in April."
Won said his family was also torn apart during the war; his grandfather left for North Korea's Gaeseong during the war leaving his mother behind ― Won's great grand-mother. He said his family never learned of her whereabouts. To contribute to peace-keeping efforts on the Korean Peninsula, Won founded the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra in 2009 and has since organized many peace events like orchestra performances or youth workshops at home and abroad.
Such efforts have raised awareness and caught the attention of established, peace-keeping organizations in July, Won said. The Lindenbaum Organization, a non-governmental organization supporting Won's projects, is planning to co-organize the Geneva Peace Talks 2020, jointly with the U.N. Office at Geneva, Interpeace, and the Geneva Peacebuiding Platform. Interpeace is a Geneva-based non-governmental organization working on international peace-building projects.
The organizations are exploring the possibility of holding the event in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), at the truce village of Panmunjeom, where the truce treaty was signed, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war.
"The Korean War is a forgotten tragedy. But when people remember it and talk about the ideological conflicts, that will be the very start of peace," Won said.