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Contributed Stories 사이트 방문자들의 이야기

“Still Present Pasts”, particularly on 6.25 History Beneath The Skin
J Lee

In the narrative psychology class which I am taking this semester, I read a paper written by Grace Cho and also went through the exhibition together with the class. I didn't expect to encounter anything about Korean War in the class, so it was rather surprising and the subject particularly was engaging.

Korean War - what Korean themselves call Yook-i-o(6-2-5, June 25th) - is a subject that Koreans recognize quite frequently; the very presence of another government in the peninsular reminds them of the past conflict within the country. So when I realized that it was hypocognized war in US, I found it very peculiar. At one point I wondered why US would even care; is it their entitlement as a “police country” to nudge into every business of every country? Indeed they took part in the war just like many other countries including China, Soviet Union, Turkey, etc, but as far as I know none of others put an extra effort to remind themselves of a war in some other far away territory.

Then I thought perhaps that is not the point. It is not the war itself but those who left Korea during or after the war to America that we were talking about. Then it became a slightly different story. Indeed their stories are hypo-cognized even in Korea because they don’t physically exist, and people forget those who don’t exist in their boundary. After the war there had been plenty of survivors to pay attention to (although I am not sure whether it was done correctly) and too many buildings to restore. In short, people were too busy taking care of what should be done in front of their eyes.

Personally I am not familiar with their narratives for sure. My parents, grandparents, and many of the school teachers went through the post-war period in which constant propaganda of anti-communism and decades of dictatorship ruled. They talked about the military training they had to take in high school and political movement against government, as if wanted to remind the new generation of the long-gone legacy.But I had not thought of leaving the country as an option; I simply had not known - or heard of - those who left.

The video of a woman’s narration added different sensation from what I had known as “the 625 narrative”. It is also different from other second-generation immigrants’ narrative of a struggle to find their cultural and self identity. For me it was a discovery of a new yet somehow familiar narrative.

I found the method very interesting. By speaking and videotaping, the narrator put more information on the contents which would not have been achievable in written words, including her accent, emotional reactions(gradually increasing?), etc. By manipulating the surrounding - as it was originally part of her performance - she created the environment she desired and thought would be more engaging.

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to regard such an important history in a perspective I had not thought of. This indeed had enlarged my understanding of Korean War.

04/03/2013 - 14:54
Christine Whang

As a second-generation Korean-American, I have begun a quest to better understand Korean history, the roots that solidify my grounding. There are undoubtedly informational texts on the Korean War, but it is another challenge to grasp the personal accounts of my own family's experience during this tumultuous historical era. For this reason I am incredibly thankful for the resources available through this project, which illuminates the unspoken of shadows of the Korean War. It has stirred different emotions - pangs of pain at the sight of loss and suffering, an unprecedented level of unknown familiarity with the participants' stories, a longing to delve deeper into the past, present and future, all while reconnecting with a part of me I have never fully explored.

The sole recollection of oral tradition in my family regarding the Korean War traces back to when I was a young eight-year-old child. My grandmother had fled from the North during the War, carrying her two baby siblings after the loss of her parents, when she was only 17 years old. The vague memories of this conversation still hold a special place within me - it's the only access I have to my second-hand understanding of this time period. I specifically remember her describing her journey across the frozen river. The ice was too thin to uphold the weight of the fleeing people, so everyone stripped down during the cold winter to hurriedly skate across this ice. My grandmother expressed her fear when risking their lives by crossing in such a precarious manner, while soldiers trailed behind the mobs of people desperate for survival. I had painted my version of this image in my mind, but seeing the picture here of North Koreans crossing the river rekindled the same emotions of angst and inquisitive, insatiable curiosity. The artistic representation of these people's small bags, which carried the entirety of their lives' gains, struck me profoundly as well. What must it feel like to drop everything and leave what you call home? How would it feel to boil down and cut out my life's symbol of ownership in security (land, home) and simply carry a tiny bag that redefined my sense of comfort?

As a second-generation Korean-American, here begins a new journey to rediscover deeper parts of my blood, history, present and future. The learning process facilitated by this project has inspired me to revive this passion again.

03/24/2011 - 15:53
어제 안에 오늘
Katherine Kim

Initially, I was confused by the phrase “Still Present Pasts”. It was only until I read the Korean translation that I fully understood that it meant the past is still active in the present and that past experiences are manifested in the lives of those directly and indirectly affected by the Korean War. Once again, I realized the importance and value of revisiting and processing the past.

As a Korean-American, it was difficult to watch the preview of the “Memory of the Forgotten War” and the other video clips on this website. Seeing the vivid and often gruesome images of the Korean War helped me to understand the complexity and the pain surrounding the Korean War. The clips, images, and the stories felt extremely personal to me and so it was a very emotional experience. The oral histories told by Min Young Lee, Suntae Chun, Helen Kyungsook Daniels, etc. did not seem like the stories of random people or strangers. It was as if I was listening to my grandmother or aunt, or a family member.

Over the years, I have been actively trying to understand my Asian American, and more specifically Korean-American identity in the United States. This website helped me to re-engage with the Korean component in my Korean-American identity. Because I am fluent in Korean and always try to stay up to date with current affairs in Korea, I thought of myself as someone who was well connected to my Korean culture and heritage. Now, I realize that I must also know and actively try to learn the history of my parents, grandparents, and previous generations in Korea in order to sustain and deepen my connection as well as maintain my identity as a Korean-American.

03/24/2011 - 14:53
Looking for Mr Sim
Jo Rinehart (daughter of Bill Fresch)

My father, William E. Fresch "Bill", was in Korea from 1950 until the end of the conflict. He was with the 89th regiment, 353rd division, and was part of the message center.
During his time there, he met a Korean boy who called himself "Mr Sim". My father taught him a lot of english, and he would say to my father "Mr Bill, teach Sim english". They became fast friends, and were instrumental in helping children find shelter in orphanages. He can't remember where he first met Mr Sim, but they knew each other throughout the Korean conflict.
My father is now 85 years old, and recently found a letter from Mr Sim. He would love to contact him, but we can't determine exactly where Mr Sim was from.
He signed his letter Sim of Goo (we think, but we can't make out if the letter is a "G" or not).
If there is any help you can be, please let us know.
If more information would be helpful, we will be happy to provide it - we would love to find Mr Sim and get our dad back in touch with him.

Thank you,
Jo (Fresch) Rinehart

07/30/2010 - 23:24