Therese Park

September is an important month in Korean-American History

The month of September is an important month in modern American History as well as the history of many Asian countries, including my motherland Korea. And this year, 2016, is an important year for me, a Korean-American, because it marks the 50th anniversary of my discovery of America at age 25. The older I get, the more I realize that my personal history is closely linked to both American and Korean modern history, for I grew up in Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953,) one of America's major wars, and witnessed many American troops sacrifices as I child and saw over the years how my native country grew from it. Who said, "The tree of liberty grows from the blood of patriots”?
On September 2nd, 1945, Douglas MacArthur, then the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Far East, read his speech to all on board USS Missouri anchored on the Tokyo Bay, in the presence of the representatives of the Allied Powers as well as the Japanese leaders, accepting Japan's "unconditional surrender to the allied forces" two weeks earlier and concluding with, "Let us pray that peace now be restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always."
On September 8th, six days after the Tokyo Bay Surrender Ceremony, the first American troops landed on Korean soil to prevent the Russians from taking the entire peninsula. Russia had declared war against Japan a month earlier on August 8th, and its troops entered North Korea to "disarm" Japanese Occupation Forces, while Hiroshima and Nagasaki was still smoldering from the U.S. atomic bombs dropped there--on Hiroshima on the 6th and on Nagasaki on the 8th--- and cries of the dying and of the mourners still lingered over the burning towns.
Gen. MacArthur, with President Truman's urging, established the Temporary U.S Army Military Government in Korea, in Seoul, and declared that everything that had belonged to Japan during the past 40 years now belonged to the United States and that the Koreans working for the government must learn English. Riots erupted daily by the Koreans--the conscripts who fought against Allied Forces, wearing Japanese Uniforms or the forced laborers, and the sex-slaves Japanese military used behind barbed-wire fences. And there were underground communist activists, too.
Overland Park resident John Hanse, 91, didn't serve in the Temporary US military government. He had been stationed in Japan as a Navy officer, and in January, 1946, he and his crew were on board USS LST 1039 heading for Saipan for an unusual mission--to rescue thousands of Koreans abandoned by their Japanese masters, like war-debris. Of more than tens of thousands Korean left on that island, Hanse' group brought back about 650 of the Koreans and some Japanese soldiers, who had been hiding in deep caves, still worshiping their deity-like Emperor Hirohito not knowing that the war had ended--and delivered them to their beloved homelands.
The U.S. military government in Korea ended in 1949 and the American troops evacuated from Korea and returned to the United States, while Russian troops too returned to their homeland as they had agreed in Postdam Conference.
North Koreans, 95,000 Russian trained troops using 150 Russian tanks, launched a surprise attack across the 38th Parallel, 155 mile-long and 2 mile-wide, terrorizing 2 million people in sheer terror, on June 25th, 1950. President Truman declared the U.S. support of Korea on July 1st, and the two American infantry divisions in Occupied Japan, the 24th and 25th rushed over to Korea on July 5th to stop the "Korean conflict."
Hanse wasn't called back to Korea until December 1952, to a seaport town that served as the base for the U.S. Navy and Air Forces. By then the peace talk between the U.S. and Chinese delegates was in progress, Hanse and his military colleagues, including a medical doctor, spent much time at an orphanage founded and operated by a French missionary priest, Father Louis Deslandes, showering the children with human warmth and gifts of food, clothes, and medical attentions.
The war ended with the armistice on September 30th, 1953, after 3 billion American dollars had been spent and 54,000 American lives were lost. On Sept. 30, 1953, two months after the armistice was signed by the American and Chinese leaders, the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea was established. This was initiated by General Paik Sun-yup, the first general of the Republic of Korea, it was a profound expression of South Korean leaders undying loyalty toward the American government and military, promising them the the Korean troops would fight along side American troops in future wars as long as their service would promote global peace, and six decades later the U.S. and South Korea still conduct military drills together, in Korea, every two years, causing the North Korea leader Kim Jong-un's agitation.
The difference between South Korea and North Korea today is as clear as light and darkness. With American's continuous help, South Koreans made speedy progress during the past decades, with their sense of gratitude, but North Koreans slaved under the rigid "One leader, one nation, and one people," policy.
South Korea today gives thanks to all who fought to preserve peace in their country at the cost of their lives.

The Kansas City Star
"Heartland Honor Flight is all about showing our gratitude to those who fought for our country's freedom," the president John Doole says.
During the Korean War, long segregation in the U.S. military ended.
"To win, you must know your enemy," wrote Chinese Ancient General Sun-Tzu (544-496 B.C.)
...their beloved country in whose honor they defended my helpless homeland in the Far East six decades ago has become my own beloved motherland.
To the parishioners at Curé of Ars Catholic Church in Leawood, their pastor is a healer, confessor, teacher and compassionate friend who rejoices with them at happy times and grieves with them at times of loss and injury.
“The truth about Jesus Christ reached Korean soil in 1784," Pope John Paul II said during the canonization of 103 Korean Martyrs in 1984. In a most marvelous way, divine grace moved your ancestors first to an intellectual quest for the truth of God’s word and then to a living faith in the risen Christ..."
During the trip to Korea together, our mother-daughter roles were reversed. My daughter seemed to think that I needed her care, not the other way around.
The Kansas City Philharmonic enriched the lives of many during its 49 years.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Messages on Violence
A Korean Grandma and her American Grandkids
Average people made the world we live in today.
Albert Schweitzer said, “You must give some time to your fellow man. Even if it’s a little thing…for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.”
Pilgrims are everywhere here on the square of the Basilica of Our Lady, some are walking on their knees and some are kneeling at the glass-walled Chapel of Apparition where the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children in 1917.
Woodcarvers find fun, therapy and friendship
Behind a tough cookie, there's a culture that nourished her soul
Not biting is a sign of appreciation
After Tucsan shooting rampage
Without a healthy brain, one cannot live a healthy life
Thomas Jefferson once said, “The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots.”
Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, "In War, there is no substitute for victory."
Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of all others.
Our home became a church when homeless priests and nuns moved in with us.
Victor Hugo's view of his old age
Forgetfulness comes with aging
Learning is for all ages.
Mixture of feelings about seeing Amercans' departure from my country Korea
Foreigner's view of today's China
The "Wake up call" isn't only for Chinese parents but for all American parents.
The Korean War isn't "Forgotten"
I once had compassion for all caged birds. But since I became a bird-owner, my opinion about them has changed.
South Korea today gives thanks to all American troops who fought to preserve its peace at the cost of their lives.
The Kansas City Star Commentary 9/20/14
My first visit to Fort Leavenworth as a guest of LTC Kim Kwang-soo, South Korean Liaison Officer to the U.S. Military
Pope John Paul II was the first pope to visit South Korea in 1984--to canonize 103 Korean martyrs
The seeds of the Church is the blood of the martyrs.
Column/ Kansas City Star
Father Emil Kapaun: recipient of Medal or Honor 2013
The U.S. government purchased Alaska in 1867 for only $7.2 million dollars from Russia, that includes 500 million acres of land with 3 million streams full of fish and otters, and tall snow-capped mountains providing shelter for bears, moose, mountain sheep and more.
The Best Times
He liberated music from a cloistered form set by earlier composers...
The racial discrimination the white American inflicted upon their black neighbors.
Magazine Article
Traditional Chinese medical doctors have been using bird-nests for centuries to treat respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis, to rejuvenate skin, and to boost energy for both young and old.
It takes courage to deal with the human condition called "aging."
Feature article
Inchon Landing was one of the most successful operations in modern military history.
Magazine Articles
Korean War Prisoner-of War Story