Korean War

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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What’s in a Name?

War Memorial of Korea- Gallery of names of UN soldiers

We all have one, and although we have no choice in deciding what it’ll be, it’s permanent, staying with us from cradle to grave. It becomes a defining feature of our human character, and long after we’re gone, a memorial to what we did or didn’t do during our time on earth. Whether it’s chiseled…

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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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The Marine I Never Knew

Childhood picture of Col. Forney

He’s one of the main reasons I’m in Korea, but he died when I was two, and our family rarely talked about him. He’s always been, in the words of Winston Churchill, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” After spending over three years researching the man who’s made such an impact on…

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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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The Kimchi Babies

Kimchi 5 and Kimchi 1 at Dr. Hyun Bong-Hak's memorial

At some point during the early stages of SS Meredith Victory’s December 22-25, 1950, voyage from Hungnam, North Korea, to Geoje Island, South Korea, a baby was born. The ship’s crew was astounded. The men had never sailed with more than a handful of passengers aboard and had never dreamed that a baby would be…

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Hungnam Evacuation – A Christmas Miracle

Author’s Note After two and a half years of researching the Hungnam Evacuation for a book I’m writing about the historic event, I’ve become immersed in the story (or maybe obsessed, as my wife would say). Along with countless hours of research, reading, and editing, I’ve also interviewed 30 former Hungnam refugees, taught classes to…

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