Sixty years after the Korean War, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un negotiated to bring home the remains of American servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict.
Fifty-five cases of American remains draped with the flag of the United Nations were returned Friday, marking the sixty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Korean War, which killed millions — including 36,000 Americans, with about 7,700 U.S. soldiers listed as missing.
The president celebrated the return of the remains on Twitter:
The Remains of American Servicemen will soon be leaving North Korea and heading to the United States! After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families. Thank you to Kim Jong Un.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2018
“Today, the Chairman is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members,” the White House said in a statement late Thursday. “We are encouraged by North Koreas actions and the momentum for positive change.”
A U.S. Air Force C-17 transferred the remains of the fallen American servicemen to Osan Air Base in South Korea. There they will be catalogued, then flown to Hawaii.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) July 27, 2018
“The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home,” the White House’s statement went on.
“It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner,” it continued.
The White House added this is a first step in the search for the 5,300 Americans in North Korea that have not returned home yet. Reactions to the achievement on Twitter were moving:
This is a remarkable moment. God bless those who suffered and died in that horrible war. Thank you, President Trump, for this powerful and moving achievement. #HomeAtLast #KoreanWarHeros https://t.co/Oh1IjwZZEG
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 27, 2018
11 prior POTUS' unable to do. Let's hear detractors rail this…..
— Paul Bastkowski (@PaulyBowz) July 27, 2018
Tears rolling as our soldiers are coming home after all this time!
My dad served during the Korean War & always became emotional talking about those who were left behind. #KoreanWarHeros #GodBlessAmerica
— JamieRJN (@JamieRJN) July 27, 2018
On August 1, a formal ceremony will take place in honor of the fallen soldiers’ return home.