I hate war. War kills. War maims. War widows. War orphans. According to Wikipedia, In World War II, 62 to 78 million lost their lives; over 2.5 percent of the world population. In the Korean War, 2.5 million North and South Koreans were killed or wounded. In the Vietnam War, more than 4 million North and South Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians lost their lives.War leaves a deep scar not only on the land that will take years to heal, but also in the hearts of those who are affected by the war. I am one of those who carry a deep emotional wound to this day, more than sixty years later.
During my earlier years in Korea, I lost three loved ones through WWII and the Korean War. During WWII under Japan, my father was imprisoned by the Japanese police because he was a Christian minister who refused to bow down to the picture of the Japanese emperor. My elder brother, my best friend, volunteered to join the Japanese military in the hope of having his father released from the prison. He left home as a vibrant fifteen-year-old boy, and returned home as a worn-out injured eighteen-year-old man when the war ended in 1945. He died from his injury a year later. In 1950, the Korean War broke out. North Korean communists occupied Seoul for 90 days, where we lived. One day two North Korean officers came to my house and took my father away. He never returned. Also, the day before the South Korean army returned to Seoul, my eldest brother, who had turned communist, disappeared. He also never returned.
Not only did I lose my father and two brothers, I also lost my beloved dog. One day during the Korean War, Mother said, “We don’t have enough food, even for the family. We have to let Kwidong go.” How could I say no to Mother when there was not enough food even for the family? I had to let my best friend go. The image of Kwidong turning her head toward me, as if to say goodbye, as she was led down the street by a dog warden still numbs my heart with pain and guilt.
I wrote Sustained by Love thru the Wars with my heart that had yearned for peace and brotherhood through my growing years, in the hope that the readers would seek harmony at home and peace in the world. I picture a scene where people from diverse cultures hold hands across the vast continents and over the deep oceans, form a huge circle, look at each other with broad smiles, and sing a mighty song of brotherhood. I know it is a dream, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if that day would come in our lifetime?
The opening page of Sustained by Love thru the Wars published by Christian Faith Publishing. Available at Barnes and Noble.