Current Events

Childhood Dog Tag Hunts

Dog tag of Philip Ackley

Country “A”: “We don’t study that.”  “No, our teachers never talk about it.” “I may have heard about it in a movie but not at school.” Country “B”: “Oh, yes, we learn about it starting in grade school.” “It’s taught as a great victory.” “We study it in detail.” Living in Korea for the past…

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The Kim Sisters to K-Pop – Korean Music Makes Its Mark

The program from the documentary film "Try to Remember"-Jan. 26, 2017

Koreans love their music. From Pansori, a traditional Korean, operatic-style performance with a singer and drummer, to K-pop, the phenomenon that’s sweeping the world with its all-boy and girl bands, to the ever-popular karaoke, or “noraebang,” establishments where friends, usually after a night of drinking, sing in small rooms equipped with a sound system, video…

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Teamwork, Freedom, and Choco Pies

choco pie

Remember the footage a few months ago of a North Korean soldier dashing across the border into South Korea, his fellow countrymen frantically chasing, yelling, and firing their guns at him? The video was seen by millions around the world. In the hours immediately following the dramatic escape, the 24-year-old, riddled with bullets and bleeding…

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Sending Them to Die

Lee Tae-Won protesting at Chinese embassy

At the age of 16, Lee Tae-won, convicted of helping a young woman escape from North Korea and deemed an enemy of the state, was sentenced to five years in a “re-education” camp or gulag. His father, an accomplice to his son’s treasonous behavior, was given the same sentence. As traitors of the Supreme Leader,…

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Honoring the Past

Lee In-Jae 6th grade friends, 1955.

They’re a loyal, fun-loving bunch. The former North Korean refugees, men now in their seventies and eighties, get together four times a year to have dinner, reminisce, sing, and give thanks for the opportunity to live in a free, democratic country. It all started five years ago when, on a whim, a few members of…

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Twenty and Counting

North Korean propaganda poster depicting destruction of US capitol

North Korea has launched 20 (yes, twenty) missiles this year. And we still have a month to go. Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at an all-time high, and as we look back on the Trump administration’s response to Kim Jong-un’s reckless and relentless pursuit of a nuclear-armed ICBM arsenal capable of hitting the US,…

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He Never Forgot His Captain

Capt. Leonard LaRue, 1950

On December 14, 2017, I’ll have the privilege of joining J. Robert “Bob” Lunney at a lecture about the Heungnam Evacuation being held at The Korea Society in New York City. It’ll be a memorable event, one that I’ve been looking forward to for months. During two and a half years of researching and writing…

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Trump’s First Visit to Korea

Gen. Walton H. Walker statue at Camp Humphreys

It’s always fun to write a piece for The Korea Times, and when I was asked to contribute my views on Trump’s upcoming visit I jumped on the opportunity. As I point out in my article below, the ROK-US alliance is strong – and getting stronger. South Korea and the United States have agreed to increase…

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