A ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the erection of the Camp Tiano War Memorial took place in Yanggu-gun, Gangwon Province on Monday.
The Camp Tiano War Memorial was built to commemorate the 19th Battalion Combat Team from the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea who died during the Battle of Hill Eerie in 1952 while fighting against the Chinese Communist Forces during the 1950-53 Korean War. The camp was given its name to honor the troops that died during the battle, including Lt. Apollo Tiano.
The 19th Battalion Combat Team is also well known for being the first to receive the Korean Presidential Unit Citation for its victory against the Chinese forces by then-South Korean President Syngman Rhee.
Bereaved family members of Lt. Apollo Tiano, special advisor to the Governor of Gangwon Province Residents’ Welfare Byun Ji-ryang and 21st Infantry Division leader Lee Sang-ryeol were in attendance.
Although 71 years have passed since the war memorial was built, the commemoration ceremony took place for the first time this year, as the bereaved family was told that the monument was in North Korea. The family was not informed of the monument relocating to South Korea after the war ended.
“I only saw this war memorial through pictures,” said Merz Panares Lim, a bereaved family member of Lt. Apollo Tiano. “It feels so good to finally see it in real life.”
“Thanks to the Camp Tiano Memorial Society’s efforts, the Embassy of the Philippines and the PEFTOK Veterans Association were able to be informed of the monument’s existence,” said 21st Infantry Division leader Lee Sang-ryeol. “There are still many war memorials in Gangwon Province that are unknown in terms of who they honor. The province will work to find the protagonists behind the war memorials to properly pay our tributes.”
“We will continue to promote various projects associated with the Camp Tiano War Memorial to honor Lt. Apollo Tiano and the fallen troops,” said Jenny Yoon, secretary-general of the Camp Tiano Memorial Society.