| A second memorial stone honoring Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II has been erected at a memorial for Korean War veterans in the state of New York.
As New York City Council members and ethnic Koreans are also acting to erect memorial stones, the third and fourth memorial stones for the victims will likely be built in the U.S.
A memorial stone honoring "comfort women" prepared by the ethnic Korean community in New York was unveiled Saturday at Veterans Memorial in Eisenhower Park of Nassau County, New York. The stone, which is the result of an initiative spearheaded by the Korean-American Public Affairs Committee, is the second of its kind in the U.S. after the first at Palisades Park in New Jersey.
Veterans Memorial, where the new stone has been placed, is similar to a national ceremony in Korea, where memorial stones honoring war dead and people who went missing stand. Since the memorial is visited by tens of thousands of people, including students and residents as well as government officials and politicians, the new stone is expected to raise awareness of the comfort women.
The stone has been at the center stage of the memorial to enable more people to pay their respects. Korean singer Kim Jang-hoon and Sungshin Women뭩 University professor Seo Kyung-deok, an expert in promoting Korea overseas, contributed to the production of paintings installed at the stone.
The stone reads, "The Japanese military kidnapped more than 200,000 girls for use in sexual slavery. Atrocities committed by the Japanese military should be recognized without fail and will never be forgotten."
After seeing Japanese government leaders and politicians visit Palisades Park to demand the removal of the stone in May, the Korean-American committee decided to erect a second stone.
Committee president David C. Lee said, "Since the memorial stone will be managed jointly by the county government and memorial stone committee, it will be difficult to remove the stone even if the Japanese government strongly demands it."
Since the committee is comprised of the county government, the park bureau, the veterans affairs agency and the war veterans council, the county cannot unilaterally remove the stone.
More memorial stones for comfort women will likely be erected in the U.S., as the committee plans to build more in other areas in New York, including Suffolk County, and in Maryland. New York City Council member Peter Koo, a Chinese American, and the Korean American Association of Greater New York are also helping to erect more stones.