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[Opinion] Veterans

Posted April. 25, 2005 23:49,   


Pork Chop, Christmas, Nevada, Gloucester Valley, Punchball, Heart Break…

These are not names of foreign places. They are the English names of places where battles took place during the Korean war. They are quite famous names in that they are written in war dictionaries as well. The English names arouse the presence of 16 war-participating countries, which gathered under the UN flag.

Dispatching troops to help other countries is a high-level diplomatic act. It requires sacrifices at home and youths’ blood. When President Roh visited Turkey recently, Turkey greeted him with, “Kan Kardesi,” meaning a “blood-sharing brother country.’ However, the debt we have to our brother country is heavy. President Roh, on his way back after attending the APEC summit at Santiago, Chile last November, visited Hawaii in the U.S., but did not visit the 6•25 War Participants’ Men’s Shrine placed near his hotel. There were words that former U.S. Army personnel felt disappointed.

A Korean War veteran`s (from England) “homecoming” attracted our attention. His name was Scott Bainbridge. When dying last March at the age of 71, he left a will asking for his ashes to be spread in Korea. White-haired comrades came with Bainbridge’s bones and spread it yesterday at Jungseong Mountain, Paju, Gyeonggi, where he fought against the Chinese air force. Bainbridge, who visited Korea before he died, was impressed by Korea’s development and said, “It is only when I get buried in Korea that my body and the blood shed can then become one.”

On the other side of the coin, there are those warrior’s families who are leaving the country. Kim Jong-seon (33), the wife of Sergeant Han Sang-guk, who died during the battle of Yellow Sea against the North Korean Army in 2002. She, on the same day, left for the U.S. alone with tears flowing down her face. “I did not want any economic compensation, I just wanted sympathy from the government and the citizens towards those who died saving the country. If this indifference and coldness towards soldiers who died or got hurt continues, who will give up their lives in war?” The country, which called to Bainbridge, and the country, which sent out Kim, is both Korea. I wish happiness to Kim

Shim Kyu-sun, Editorial writer, ksshim@donga.com