The Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea performed their grand finale to a packed crowd at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas for 3,000 distinguished guests and the founders of the Little Angels, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, on February 11, 2012. The world-renowned dance troupe is on the last leg of its 22-nation Korean War 60th Anniversary World Peace Tour.
After an introductory welcome from Rev. Joshua Cotter, the Master of Ceremonies, the attendees viewed a video titled “You Are Not Forgotten,” an overview of the Korean War and the work of the Little Angels. Speakers at the event included Dr. Stavros S. Anthony, the Mayor Pro Tem of Las Vegas, the Rev. In Jin Moon, President of the Unification Church USA, and Dr. Bo Hi Pak, General Director of the Little Angels.
The Little Angels’ repertoire featured a series of 12 performances, each of which showcased different aspects of Korean culture and involved a unique set of traditional costumes. The members of the troupe, 32 young girls and one young boy from ages 9-15, worked their magic through the mediums of dance, drum-playing, folk-singing with the kayakum, a traditional Korean stringed instrument, and choir songs in English, Korean and German.
After the performance, medals were awarded to 16 representative Korean War veterans by the Little Angels. Rev. and Mrs. Moon received a trophy emblazoned with the flags of Korea and the 16 UN-member nations who fought in the Korean War, and also participated in a cake-cutting ceremony celebrating Rev. Moon’s 93rd birthday and Mrs. Moon’s 70th birthday.
Remarks from Mayor Pro Tem of Las Vegas
“The Little Angels Folk Ballet of Korea has come to Las Vegas to honor our Korean War veterans, who went to the unknown country of Korea, fought bravely to save Korean freedom and independence and paved the way for Korea’s great prosperity today.
“The Korean War has been called the forgotten war, but tonight, we have not forgotten. We are going to remember the Korean War veterans who died during that conflict and the ones who are here in Las Vegas today. I am absolutely honored to have these men and women as citizens of the great city of Las Vegas.
“Together with Jim Gavin, the president of the Universal Peace Federation and on behalf of Mayor Goodman, myself and the entire city council, I want to present a certificate of appreciation to those beautiful little kids of the Little Angels who have come here to honor our Korean War veterans and to represent the Koreans of Las Vegas.”
“I want to point out the incredible support nationwide for this tour commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War,” said MC Rev. Cotter. “President Barack Obama and three former presidents all have submitted letters of congratulations.
“President Barack Obama said as he inaugurated the National Korean War Veterans’ Armistice Day in July of 2009, ‘Today we remember and honor the valor of Korean War veterans and the extraordinary sacrifices that they and their families have made for the cause of peace.’”
Former President George W. Bush wrote on June 25, 2010: “I thank the Korean War 60th Anniversary Memorial Project, the Little Angels of Korea, and all those who have worked to help honor the veterans of this war.”
Former President William J. Clinton wrote on April 20, 2010: “A performance by the Little Angels is a fitting way to commemorate this anniversary. Transcending barriers of nationality and language, ballet is a dynamic performing art that proves to be a powerful medium through which the beauty and diversity of human experience can be expressed. I am thankful to its members for helping us observe this milestone in such a special way.”
A Veteran’s Testimony
Frank Myers, a Korean War veteran who served in the United States Army, spoke briefly about his experience as a soldier, after which the audience supported him with a rousing applause. He is now retired, has five children and lives in Las Vegas with his wife.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” said Myers. “Good evening to the precious Little Angels and the veterans who made this all possible. I’m here to represent some of the veterans who weren’t able to be here – many of them we left in Korea.
“In the time of the Korean War, I was in the reserve company. We were 18-19 years old at that time, using untried weapons. We had no idea what we were getting into. It was a terrible, horrible experience to see your best friends killed next to you, to see young boys lying in the rice paddies, fearful of moving, crying for mama to help. But I have to say that I’m really proud of every moment I spent fighting for Korean freedom. That’s one of the things in my life I look back to with great pride. And every time I met and introduced myself to a Korean, they always thanked me profusely. I just couldn’t believe the gratitude.
“On behalf of the Korean War veterans, I’d like to say thank you to the Little Angels for taking the time to come here tonight to honor and say thank you to all the veterans who served in their country. I understand that the founders of the Little Angels, Rev. and Mrs. Moon are here with us tonight, and on behalf of all Korean veterans and all Americans, to Rev. and Mrs. Moon, thank you so much. Your thoughtfulness in bringing those wonderful children is greatly appreciated. If my arms were big enough, I’d like to embrace them all. In conclusion, I’d like to salute my fellow Korean War veterans. Thank each and every one of you. God Bless you.”
Remarks from Rev. In Jin Moon
Rev. In Jin Moon, CEO of the Manhattan Center and the president of the Unification Church USA said: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and the war veterans of the Korean War. It is truly my honor to be here with you all, as a proud Korean-American. This evening takes on a personal note for me, in that had it not been for the sacrifice of the great 16 nations and those other six nations that sent medical supplies in support of the Korean War, I certainly would not be here today. It is through your sacrifice and your efforts that my father lives today at a ripe old age of 93, and that my mother has just celebrated her 70th birthday.
“I truly want to congratulate the Little Angels of Korea on this grand finale event in Las Vegas in remembering and giving thanks to those brave soldiers who fought for freedom and who have allowed the wonderful country of Korea to prosper into this millennium. In 1948, my father was sentenced to hard labor in a North Korean prison camp in Heungnam. Most of the prisoners there did not live past six months, but he struggled on in his faith in God and his desire to spread the great message of true love and living for the sake of others as one family under God. When he was finally liberated by the Allied Forces, he fell upon his knees, thanked God and prayed that one day, he would have the opportunity to thank the great men and women who have sacrificed to keep freedom alive in Korea.
“My father has worked ceaselessly ever since Jesus Christ asked him to take up the mission to encourage everyone to see themselves as one family under God, overcoming cultural barriers, overcoming racial barriers, overcoming religious barriers. My father and my mother have also encouraged different countries all around the world to never forget their traditions, culture and heritage.
“What you are about to witness tonight in the beauty of the Little Angels is a little taste of heaven. In a way, the children are the most beautiful ambassadors of love to the world. From my parents, I would like to convey the deepest thanks in the deepest humility to the veterans of America and to all the Allied countries that served in the Korean War. They say in the East that 60 years marks the cycle of one’s life, and I feel that it is incredibly profound that my father finally has the opportunity to be in the audience tonight, to honor the precious veterans and have a chance to look them in the face and thank them. So, from my family and my country of Korea, and as also a proud American, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless America.”
Remarks from Dr. Bo Hi Pak
Dr. Bo Hi Pak, General Director of the Little Angels and Executive Director of the Korean War’s 60th Anniversary Memorial Committee, the host committee for the Little Angels World Tour, introduced the Little Angels as well as Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.
Dr. Pak said: “Wow, 3,000 people! I have never seen anything like this. Thank you for coming! Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I have come to Las Vegas many times. However, this time I did not come alone. I have come with 33 beautiful Korean children, the world-renowned Little Angels Folk Ballet of Korea.
“Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon are the founders of the Little Angels, which were created 50 years ago – a half century! – in 1962 for the sake of world peace. At the start of the Korean War, unfortunately, Rev. Moon was serving a five-year prison term in the North Korean concentration camp in Heungnam because he had been teaching the Bible in North Korea. North Korean communists were waiting for him to die. They knew no one ever survived in the death camp for more than six months. However, to the disbelief of the communist authorities, Rev. Moon miraculously endured two years and eight months.
“On September 15, 1950, General Douglas MacArthur launched the Incheon landing and recaptured Seoul in three days. As the UN forces neared Heungnam, the North Korean communists began to systematically execute all of the prisoners. On October 15, 1950, just one day before Rev. Dr. Moon’s execution, General Alexander Haig, at that time Captain Haig, blasted the prison gates wide open and Rev. Moon was miraculously rescued.
“In 2010, Rev. and Mrs. Moon strongly determined not to miss this opportunity to show the world that Korea would never, never forget the noble sacrifices of those brave soldiers from the 22 nations who saved our country and also Rev. Moon. In thanks, they granted $10 million to the Little Angels and sent them as cultural emissaries to all 22 nations to comfort the Korean War veterans and their families with a beautiful performance of traditional Korean dancing and singing.
“The American forces fought as if they were defending their own country. Without the precious sacrifices of those American soldiers and the soldiers of the other 15 UN-member nations, the Republic of Korea would not exist today. I salute the American people. At this time I would like to ask all those who are in Heaven – heroes in Heaven – to come down and join us for this Korean War heroes’ celebration and receive a hero’s medal and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. 54,000 Americans died in our country. I’m tearful to hear this number. May they join with us as we pay tribute to them and as we enjoy the Little Angels’ performance.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in 1950, I also fought in that War. I was a Korean military academy cadet. I fought side by side with the American soldiers. I was 19-years-old. Yes, we all are in debt to you. A debt of blood we can never, never fully repay for the rest of eternity. Without your sacrifices, today Korean would have no freedom, no democracy and no prosperity. I thank you, Americans – especially the veterans and their families. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
“On September 20, 1965, the Little Angels launched their first American tour. They had their first performance in front of former U.S. President Dwight B. Eisenhower, and he enjoyed the program immensely. He said to the Little Angels, ‘Well, well, the heavenly angels are now in big trouble, because you, the Korean angels, surely out-danced them!’ Since then, they have traveled on all six continents, given 6,000 performances and had 500 television appearances.
“However, they have always been 9 -15 years old. On the other hand, when Rev. Moon started the Little Angels, I was 32 years old. Now, I am 82. So it seems that the only one getting old is me. I don’t mind. Not at all! I want them to stay 9-15 for the next 1,000 years. They are so innocent, so pure and so beautiful. They are the true peace force of our time. For me, getting old is no problem. I have a solution. Who gave the solution? General Douglas Macarthur. He said, ‘Old soldiers never die. They just fade away.’ Isn’t that great?
“The Little Angels bring good fortune wherever they go and today they have brought good fortune to all of you, here in Las Vegas. In 2010, the honorable Lee Myung Bak, the president of Korea, issued a special message praising the mission of the Little Angeles and encouraging them to represent Korea well. Also, the Korean government made a sizeable contribution for the fulfillment of their mission.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have a special announcement. Rev. and Mrs. Moon rarely come to any of the Little Angels performances. However, tonight is the conclusion and the great finale of the 22-nation tour. We especially invited them and they graciously accepted our invitation. Let us welcome, standing, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Moon!”
Report of Pastor Demian Dunkley
Las Vegas Pastor Demian Dunkley was a leader of the event-mobilization team that produced two-thirds of the guests in only six days. He sent the following testimony to the UC Newsletter: “In two weeks we mobilized about 1,100 people to attend the Little Angels Performance. We have names and contact information for all of those people. In the last six days, we ramped up the mobilization to 3,000. Over 2,500 of those were guests. Several Korean War veterans, elected officials and dignitaries were present. We had 500 seats especially prepared for them, but it wasn't enough.
“The room was full of people who had never laid eyes on Rev. Moon, so when all 3,000 stood up in thunderous applause as True Parents entered, you knew something was different about this night. I have never seen anything like this. A camera followed True father all the way to his seat, and clearly, he looked very happy.
“From the time the Little Angels started their performance, my eyes were full of water. I had to stop myself from falling to the floor in tears as I saw this miracle before me. Hundreds of Korean War vets being thanked by True Father in the most exquisite and heartfelt way. I felt Father’s love in the room for all, and I think everyone else felt it. Everyone was moved.
"After it was over, I was standing next to one of the hired video crew backstage as Father was leaving and he said, "That's the man. Wow, so that's the man." I turned around and said, "Yes, that's the man." He later gave me his contact information and said he would like to bring his wife to our church.
"I am getting feedback from some of our mobilizers as well. They are getting extremely positive responses from their guests. Quotes such as, "I am definitely going to Rev. Moon's next event."
Contributed by Ariana Moon in Las Vegas.