Peace, Peace, where are you?
I’ve been looking all over for you.
Wherever you are, please come on out.
Please dwell with us as our family.
We all long for peace. Peace in hour hearts. Peace at home. Peace in the world. But this peace is so illusive.
I was born in Korea in 1936 when Japan ruled my country. Yet I had a happy childhood under loving parents and a brother who treated me as his best friend. Living was fun. And I looked forward to everyday for exploring the world around me.
Then December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The World War II in the Pacific began.
With the war, Japan tightened its grip on Korea. They took my father to prison because he was a Christian minister and an educator. To save his father, my 15 year old brother volunteered to serve in the Japanese military. After Brother left for Japan, Father had a stroke in the prison and was brought home under house arrest. Soon afterward, the Japanese police took away our house. We were left homeless. Father had no job. Mother had to find a way to feed us.
As a 7 year old boy, I worried a lot, “Where will Mother get the money to feed us? Will Father die from the stroke? Will the Japanese people be nice to my brother? Or will they treat him like a dog?” I was afraid to face tomorrow because tomorrow seemed to bring more bad news.
The war dragged on. Then in August, 1945, with the U.S. dropping two atomic bombs over Japan, the war came to an end. We returned to our old house. Father could preach and teach. Brother returned home from Japan. He had left home as a young innocent 15 year old boy. He returned home as an 18 year old worn-out man with an injury. Within a year, he died in a hospital bed.
The peace lasted only five years. In June, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. For ninety days my family lived under the Communists. Then one August morning, two North Korean officers came to our house and took my father away. They did not tell us why they were taking him. They just came and took him away. He never came back.
Through my growing years, yearning for Peace had dwelt in my heart. Many questions had swirled around it.
Why do we hate? Why do we kill? Why not peace instead war? Why don’t we play each other as friends instead of fighting against one another as enemies?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we, the people of the world, billions strong, hold hands across the vast continents, over the deep oceans, form a giant circle around the planet earth, look at each other in smile, and sing a mighty of song of brotherhood?
In 1953 at age 16, I left home for America. I went to a high school. I went to universities for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I worked for industry and later taught at a university.
Since retiring in 2002, I have dedicated myself to share my life stories through writing in the hope of promoting brotherhood and peace.
Blossoms and Bayonets coauthored with Jana McBurney-Lin will be e-published through Kindle in Fall, 2012. Jana turned my family story during WWII under Japan into a 400-page historical novel.