Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Korea

Right now, Korea is on top of mind.

This segment from last night's NBC Nightly News is but one example of how North Korea is dominating the news cycle.  US Military in South Korea

My father fought in the Korea Conflict in the 50s.  He tells harrowing stories of the unrelenting, bone-chilling cold weather they endured, and one time he was driving a troop transport truck and found himself behind the North Korean lines, surrounded by Chinese troops.  Somehow, he and his buddies managed to get back to safety, and he went home to marry my mother and raise a family.  No doubt his low opinion of our love of winter camping is formed by his real-life experience of surviving in a pup tent in the Korean snows.

In the late sixties, when we were stationed at Fort Bliss, TX, he was sent back to duty in South Korea.  To comfort their children, my parents told us that Daddy would be sending each of us a special birthday present by mail from Korea.  My older brother and sister have birthdays in November and December, and their presents arrived.  Suddenly the next spring, we stopped hearing anything from my father, and my younger brother and I, with spring birthdays, did not receive a present.  My mother was frantic for news of him and so she contacted the Red Cross.  Eventually, they informed her that my father had been seriously hurt in an accident when a chain had broken while they were moving a missile, and he was in the military hospital (why the US Army had not informed his wife is still a mystery). After some time had passed, he was transferred to the Fort Bliss hospital, where he convelesced.

The other day I asked my father if he was concerned about the news coming from Korea.  He was noncommital, but I find he is, like so many elderly, growing more taciturn and silent as he ages.  No doubt he never dreamed he would see such news in his lifetime.   We are witnessing troubling times.

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