April 26, 2023
On a cool brisk morning my husband and I were invited to attend the White House for the State Arrival Ceremony welcoming the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol.
As a Korean-American US citizen for many years, I was aware that previous ROK Presidents made visits to the White House with special honors. That was the scale of event that I was anticipating, but this time it seemed much more eventful and dramatic.
That morning we hurried to catch an express bus to downtown Washington DC to avoid the busy weekday traffic. Walking blocks around the perimeter of the White House with all the extra security, we began to feel that something important was happening. The US and Korean flags were waving together in the morning breezes.
Outside the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building, huge US and Korean flags hung stately side by side above the front entrance. Even as an ordinary Korean-American citizen, I was able to read it as a symbol of strong commitment between the two countries as they commemorate 70 years of the US-ROK Alliance.
We were fortunate to have reservations to the White House South Lawn to watch the entire ceremony in the midst of a crowd of people. It was an overwhelming sensation watching the powerful performances of the US military bands, a beautiful Korean children’s choir singing Arirang, with a diverse crowd of all ages witnessing the impressive welcome received by President Yoon. I could not help feeling proud that my home country Korea is regarded as a nation that plays an important part on the world’s stage.
And later, President Yoon’s speech to the US Congress shared such a powerful message about our nations’ collaboration, the world’s issues, and effectively raised the challenges of military threats and human rights issues in North Korea.
He placed emphasis on the impact and the value of the US-ROK Alliance, strengthening the ties between the two nations, and protecting democracy throughout the world.
The next day, my husband, Richard MacIntyre, who served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Korea back in 1967-1969, and I returned to DC to attend the MOU signing ceremony between the US Peace Corps and KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) to strengthen ties between the two organizations. It struck me as a truly meaningful moment especially for Korea. In the 1960’s, Korea, then a third-world country, received assistance from the US Peace Corps. Today the two countries agree to collaborate on global volunteer programs. It is a significant accomplishment that gave us a sense of fulfillment.
Younghee O. MacIntyre, President of the Washington Korean Women’s Society
하나님이 세상을 이처럼 사랑하사 독생자를 주셨으니 이는 저를 믿는 자마다 멸망치 않고 영생을 얻게 하려 하심이니라 (요 3:16).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)