Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, lays a flower during a remembrance service honoring sailors lost in the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772). (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joshua Bryce Bruns)

SEOUL, Republic of Korea - Sailors from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy honored the 47 sailors that were lost after the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan (PCC-772) during an annual memorial service March 25.

Cheonan, a Pohang-class corvette, was sunk after being hit with a North Korean torpedo in the Yellow Sea March 26, 2010. Forty-six members of the ship's crew perished in the incident, along with a ROK navy diver who lost his life during the subsequent rescue efforts.

"These fallen sailors symbolize the incredible strength and indomitable spirit of the Korean people, who have always stood tall in the face of adversity," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "These sailors stood the watch so their fellow citizens could live in peace and prosperity."

In the tradition of Korean culture, Franchetti participated in a flower-laying and incense ceremony with other distinguished guests including ROK navy Rear Adm. Choi Myung-han, Combined Forces Command C1.

"Koreans were left in despair after the attack, but these fallen sailors will never be forgotten," said Choi. "Because of their sacrifice, the U.S.-ROK alliance has never been stronger."

Sailors from the U.S. and ROK Navy approached the memorial in small groups, saluting and paying their respects to the Cheonan crew.

"These sailors are forever a reminder of the enduring cost of freedom," said Franchetti. "The legacy of these sailors will live on in all those who serve the Republic of Korea, and for this great alliance."