VP Pence Greets U.S. and South Korea Troops for Easter Sunday

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

Vice President Mike Pence is spending Easter Sunday with both U.S. and Republic of Korea military troops as the first stop on a 10-day tour that marks his first official travel to the Asia-Pacific region as Vice President of the United States.

Pence took off on Air Force Two on Saturday with a stopover in Alaska and family and staff in tow.

The first stop is Seoul, Republic of Korea on April 16. Arriving on Easter Sunday, Pence spent the day with troops U.S. and Republic of Korea troops and their families.

Pence and the second lady arrived in the afternoon at Seoul National Cemetery where the Vice President walked down a path lined with guards. He stopped at one point to acknowledge the troops, then continued on to a memorial tower. Accompanied by the superintendent of the cemetery, the head of the memorial division, Mrs. Pence and their two daughters, a guide walked them through steps of a ritual in English.

The Vice President laid a wreath at the memorial wall.

After the wreath laying ceremony, the Pence family attended an Easter Sunday service at a Yongsan military base church. The service began with the traditional Resurrection Sunday call from the pastor of “Christ is arisen,” to which the congregation responded, “He has arisen indeed.” In attendance were a couple hundred people and large choir.

After the service, The Vice President and Mrs. Pence moved to a room upstairs in the church where military troops were gathered and a meal, pink decor, flowers and U.S. and South Korean flags were displayed.

Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, introduced the Vice President.

Pence brought greetings and a message from commander-in-chief President Donald Trump, ”I spoke to the president earlier today and I spoke to him on the way over, and he asked me to be here, and he told me in no uncertain terms to make sure I told all of you ‘we’re proud of you and we’re grateful for your service.”

“The attention that this part of the world has got from people back home is probably no surprise,” he continued. “This morning’s provocation from the north is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face each and every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world.”

“Your willingness to step forward, to serve, to stand firm without fear, inspires,” he went on.

The Vice President made mention of his father who served in the Korean War and won the bronze star in 1953.

He remarked to the room:

“I stand before you today very moved this Eastern Sunday, because one of those soldiers more than sixty years ago was my dad. As we landed today on the peninsula I looked out at those rolling hills and I thought about second lieutenant Edward J Pence who was with the 45th infantry division of the United States Army that served here in combat.”

He went on to say:

“On this day I think of my dad. He’s been gone 29 years now and is still enshrined in the hearts of everyone in our family. And I think of what dad would be thinking about and I believe he is thinking about, as he looks down to see his third son return to that place he left so many years ago, and to see that the sacrifices that were made, the commitment that endures here as a result of a free and prosperous South Korea.”

Before leaving South Korea, the Vice President will participate in a bilateral meeting with Acting Republic of Korea Hwang Kyo-ahn. He will also meet with National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and hold a listening session with local business leaders.

From South Korea Pence goes on to Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii.

The entire 10-day trip will span 53 in-air hours and 21,750 miles.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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