Tag: korean war
Pak Myung Sook
Pak Myung Sook was born in 1929 in Seoul, South Korea, during a time when the country was under Japanese rule. During the outbreak of the Korean War, her father, who had worked as a police officer, was kidnapped, leaving her mother to care for her four younger siblings on her own. Ms. Pak’s mother sought strength in her religious faith, helping her entire family to become devoted Christians After growing up during a time of cultural and social repression, Ms. Pak then experienced the horrors of war, suffering the loss of her child when she fled to seek refuge. After the war, she immigrated to America when her husband’s company went bankrupt and began to build a new life with her family. Her stories depict how important it is to find comfort and strength in one’s family and keep moving forward, no matter what.
One Day in Early July 1950
It happened to me on a day in early July 1950. I was a student in the first grade of Bosung Middle School located in Hyaewha Dong, Seoul, Korea. At this point, I will explain Korean political and military situations.Korea was emancipated on August 15, 1945, out of Japanese occupation for 35 years since August 29, 1910. Korea has been divided between South and North Koreas soon after the Japanese Surrender on August 15, 1945, and South Korea established the Democratic Government on May 10, 1948, under the leadership of President Syngman Rhee. There was the complete and permanent division of the Korean Peninsula across the latitude of the 38th Parallel North and hostilities between these two divided Countries including the frequent military clashes.
The Story of Saber Fighters
It happened in the year of 1950 during the summer, possibly in late July. My mother, sister, and I were treading in a lonely country road heading to the village of Yongmun, Gyeonggi-do, where my sister and her family were living.
Stella Gill was attending kindergarten and learning how to play the piano when she recalls the Korean War breaking out when she was just 4 years old. After several years of living as refugees, her family finally returned home only to find that their father never came back. Stella went on to get married and settled with her new family in America. However, 25 years ago, she received a mysterious letter in the mail sent from North Korea that turned out to be her long lost father. Communicating through letters until his death, she describes the emotions she felt at that time learning about her father’s new life and family.
Born in 1944 in the city of Harbin in what was then called the Manchuria region of China, Regina Park experienced the hardships of the Korean War at a young age. Her memories of the war include fleeing from Pyongyang, North Korea to South Korea with her family in the dead of night and receiving milk porridge from American soldiers on the street in order to survive. After meeting her husband through her uncle, Ms. Park applied for a green card and moved to the U.S. in her late twenties to start a new life. Her story is one of incredible resilience, courage, and tenacity.
Jeannie Wang was born in Busan, growing up in the middle of the Korean War during which she recalls sharing food and resources with refugees fleeing from the combat up North. Ms. Wang’s dreams of becoming an international ambassador eventually led her to America, where she worked at a wig shop while still studying in school. Due to financial difficulties, she had to quit her ambassador dreams, but soon found another path in tutoring and education through her children. Putting all her energy into her children’s future inspired her to start a Kumon tutoring business with her husband, where they worked together for over 20 years. Ms. Wang shares with her daughter her gratefulness in that her children were able to adjust and live well in America despite the cultural differences and difficulties they went through.
James Jin-Han Wang
James Jin-Han Wang was born in 1940 in what is now the capital of North Korea, Pyeongyang. Mr. Wang recalls the long and difficult journey of fleeing on foot to the South with his family when he was just ten years old. When the Han River Bridge was bombed down in an attempt to prevent North Korean soldiers from further invading the South, Mr. Wang’s father was separated from the rest of the family. His pregnant mother was left alone with three young children, of which one died shortly after contracting polio, and her newborn son died shortly after birth due to starvation. After graduating from Seoul National University, Mr. Wang worked in Korea for a few years before coming to America with big dreams of a new life for himself. Now having owned various different businesses and retiring, his biggest wish is for his daughters and granddaughter to simply be happy.
Mary Kim, born in North Korea, grew up in Seoul during both the Japanese occupation and the breakout of the Korean War. Ms. Kim shares her memories of being punished for speaking Korean and hearing rumors about women being recruited as comfort women in her hometown. She also recalls the difficulty of trying to stay alive during the war with vivid memories of scavenging and rationing out foods like potato powder and barley. Ms. Kim’s husband was able to immigrate to America, rare at the time, through his medical research work. Ms. Kim soon followed with their children with the dream of securing their family’s safety and future lives.
Hee Yung Chang
Ms. Hee Yung Chang was born in Seoul, Korea, experiencing the Korean War as a young child.
Jin Young Choi
Jin Young was born in 1937 in Manchuria which was also under Japanese occupation at the time.
Jean Kim – Part 2
Fighting poverty and homelessness never stops for Jean Kim.
Jean Kim – Part 1
Born in 1935 in what is now North Korea, Jean Kim lived through the Japanese occupation and the Korean War, losing her language, family, and home.
Seungjin Lee – Part 2
Seungjin Lee takes us back into his family’s story before his move to the U.S.
Pastor Myungja Yue recalls how her father took on the incredible feat of swimming across the Nakdong River back and forth 6 times
Yoon Soo Park
Dr. Yoon Soo Park, recognized internationally for his research in science and technology, recalls the less public memories of his life during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War.
Dju Hyun Park – Part 2
Dju Hyun Park recalls her harrowing escape from North Korea to South Korea.
Dju Hyun Park – Part 1
Dju Hyun Park grew up in a wealthy family in North Korea, but affluence did not ensure an easy life.
Kim J Chung, part 2
Kim J Chung shares how she met her husband, and how the two were an unlikely pair.
Kim J Chung, part 1
Kim J Chung shares how her family crossed the border from North Korea to South Korea.
Han Shik Park – Part 2
As a professor with over forty years teaching political science at the University of Georgia, Han Shik Park shares his thoughts on North Korea,
Han Shik Park – Part 1
Han Shik Park is no stranger to war. Born near what is now Harbin amidst Chinese civil unrest, Park eventually moved to South Korea after the surrender of the Japanese.
Sang Soo Park
Sang Soo Park, born in 1929, recounts the days in Korea when everyone was starving and his immigration to the United States to join his brother who worked at a chemical factory.
Aiyoung Choi – Part 1
Civic activist Aiyoung Choi recounts her father escaping to China to avoid being forced to research new technologies for the Japanese war effort
KRB Podcast: Myung Hee Chun and Jin Hee Choi
In this week’s special episode of Korean American Story with 87.7 FM KRB, Queens residents Myung Hee Chun and Jin Hee Choi talk about their family’s rich tale of resilience during the Korean independence movement. Through their eyes, learn what it was like to be born and raised in Manchuria during the Japanese occupation, and live through the liberation period and Korean War.
Chung Yun Hoon – Part 1
Chung Yun Hoon, born in 1930, describes his childhood and family life in China, how seeing a picture of the Empire State Building inspired him to learn English.
Han Sung Park
Han Sung Park grew up in a rural part of Korea as the youngest of four daughters to her mother, who faced a lot of social stigmas as a widow.
Sungdo Park, born in 1933, gives an intimate look at the major events of his life.
Ms. Jwa Kyung Shin
Jwa Kyung Shin was born in 1914 in Korea. She was 100 years old at the time of the interview.
Victori was born in 1943 in a small peach farming village outside of Seoul, Korea.
Mrs. Jungsook Choh was born in 1935 in Uhrae-Jin, Hamkyung-Namdo, which is now in North Korea.
Where Are You Going, Thomas?: The Journey of a Korean War Orphan
This is the story of Thomas Park Clement, an abandoned bi-racial Korean War orphan, who was adopted by a white American family in 1958. He overcame many obstacles to become a successful entrepreneur and a humanitarian.
Love Beyond Measure: Pega Crimbchin
Late one evening while mourning her late husband, Pega Crimbshin (nee Ock Soon Lee), 81, of Cabot, Pennsylvania, found a box that he had handcrafted and shown to her in January 1954. He had informed her that they contained important papers.
Kang P. Lee
Since junior high school, Kang Lee’s aspiration was to become one of the greatest scientists Korea has produced. His father, who was the chairman of the biology department at Seoul National University, was kidnapped by the North Koreans during the Korean War. His mother was left to raise 6 children on her own. Kang Lee managed to find scholarships which allowed him to attend his junior high school and high school, and eventually worked his way through Seoul National University as a private tutor. He came to the USA to attend MIT, where he received his PhD. In 1984 he founded Aspen Systems, where he is still the CEO today.
This is an amazing story of struggle and resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Despite a lifetime of struggles and successes, Kang Lee remains an incredibly optimistic and humble person.
Bond of Unlikely Brothers Forged during Korean War
“You know how sometimes you meet someone and it just clicks,” Kleisley said. “That’s how it was when I first met Mark.” That 1951 chance meeting near a stream in Korea blossomed into a 60-plus-year friendship for the Marine from Rochester, N.Y., and the former homeless kid from North Korea.
Dr. Byoung G. Choh
Legacy Project video of Dr. Byoung G. Choh of Cleveland, Ohio interviewed by his daughter, Theresa Choh-Lee.