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(LEAD) Memorial Day ceremony toned down amid coronavirus pandemic

SAT 2020 06 JUN 03:46:PM (GMT: SAT 2020 06 JUN 06:46:AM)
KOREA

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DAEJEON, June 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea''s annual Memorial Day service was a low-key event Saturday as a precautionary measure against the new coronavirus that has infected more than 11,000 people here.

Veterans, patriots and family members of those who took part in the Korean War and the country''s independence and democracy movements, as well as public servants who died while serving antivirus duties, attended the 65th Memorial Day ceremony.

Seven family members and survivors of the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan warship and the artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, a front-line island in the Yellow Sea, also attended the event.

Guests attending the 65th Memorial Day ceremony on June 6, 2020, at Daejeon National Cemetery in the city 160 kilometers south of Seoul are seen seated apart from one another as a precautionary measure against the new coronavirus. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in and the leaders of the ruling and opposition political parties also attended the event.

"A country should repay all sacrifices and devotion," Moon said during his speech broadcast live. "The government will forever remember those who made the Republic of Korea what it is today and inscribe (their feats) in history."

The ceremony, which was initially planned to be held at the National Cemetery in Seoul, was relocated to Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of the capital, amid a continued rise in virus cases in the metropolitan area.

Officials said they tightened quarantine guidelines and reduced the number of invited guests from last year''s 10,000 to around 300 to reduce the risk of infection.

Some 50,000 people were expected to visit the national ceremony to pay tribute to patriots and veterans Saturday.

A visitor pays tribute to patriots and veterans at Daejeon National Cemetery in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on June 6, 2020. (Yonhap)


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