“Christmas is about spending time with your family” was a popular slogan years ago in Korea. In Korea, Chuseok is when we go home to visit family, but in the Western world, it is Christmas. Perhaps that was the reason why there were rumors that “the war would end before Christmas” in Western wars. Such rumors had been widespread when the Normandy Invasion succeeded in 1944. However, as it snowed and Christmas neared, the Battle of the Bulge took place, which threw American soldiers off guard. Instead of returning home, soldiers had to struggle with coldness and snow, fighting off hears of frostbite, death, and the thought of spending Christmas in German prison camps.
When the Battle of Incheon succeeded, which changed the course of the Korean war, Christmas became know as the day of hope. The army headquarters also moved quickly to make their celebration. The veterans of the Jangjin-ho battle in 1950 were able to spend a warm Christmas. Before Christmas, the allied forces were able to make an exodus from North Korea through the Hungnam evacuation. 14,000 civilians boarded the Meredith Victory, a civilian freight vessel, that was designed to accommodate 60, and arrived in Geoje Island on Christmas day. Main armed forces had already arrived in Busan the previous day. It was a glorious Christmas gift, but the solders that had fought in the Changjin-ho battle had to endure extreme cold weather under 30 degrees Celsius. Only one third of the soldiers in the first US marine division, excluding those killed and wounded, were able to walk leaving Hungnam. China had lost around 40,000- 100,000 of its armed force.
There is a two-faced theory to hope. Individuals say that “hope never abandons you.” In war, it is exactly the opposite. Groundless optimism is always at the
other side of the worst situation. Hope is controlled by emotions, while optimism is about putting into action. We need to be wide enough to be rational, make accurate decisions, never confuse ideals with reality.