At this point more than ever, President Moon Jae-in says South Koreans need strong pride in their nation to overcome the coronavirus outbreak.
He was speaking Friday at an event to commemorate West Sea Defense Day to remember the South Korean troops who died defending the country against North Korea's provocations.
The president said the unyielding sacrifices and devotion of those who died are an important symbol for everyone.
Patriotism is indeed our strongest security. It lays the groundwork for a country to be unshakeable. As long as our troops remember the patriotism shown by the heroes who defended the West Sea, and as long as history remains in the memory of the people, we'll overcome any crisis.
Moon thanked the military for their efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak pointing to their volunteer work and donations as well as military nurses supporting treatment efforts.
He said South Korea was pulling together as a nation through unity and cooperation.
It was the first time President Moon attended the event since taking office reflecting the government's determination for strong security and lasting peace.
It falls on the fourth Friday of March every year and remembers the troops killed in the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong, the sinking of the Cheonan warship and the shelling of Yeonpyeong-do Island.