War kills. War maims. War widows. War orphans. And it leaves a deep scar not only on the land, that will take years to heal, but also in the hearts of those who are affected by the war. I am one of those who carry a deep emotional wound to this day, more than sixty years later.
During my earlier years in Korea, I lost three loved ones through WWII and the Korean War. During WWII under Japan, my father was imprisoned by the Japanese police because he was a Christian minister who refused to bow down to the picture of the Japanese emperor. My elder brother volunteered to join the Japanese military in the hope of having his father released from the prison. He left home as a vibrant 15 year-old boy, and returned home as a worn-out injured 18 year-old man after the war and died a year later. In 1950, the Korean War broke out. North Korean communists occupied Seoul. One day two North Korean officers came to my house and took my father away. He never returned. Also, the day before the South Korean army returned to Seoul, my eldest brother, who had turned communist, disappeared, never to return.
When Seoul was freed from the Northern army, I and my mother fled Seoul – Mother on a boat with a relative’s family and I with my friend’s family in a train to be joined in Cheiju Island. On the island without Father, we struggled to survive for the two long years. Then in 1953 during the Korean War, my mother put me -- her youngest 16 year old son -- on a boat heading for America so that he would be safe and get a good education.
Shattered by the wars is a story of love, sacrifice, faith, and suffering – all wrapped in one package. The heroine in the story is my mother as seen by her youngest son. Mother prayed without ceasing; days and nights; when she was happy and when she was sad. Through her ‘Not my will but Your will be done’ prayers, she was able to walk through the dark tunnel of despair and distress, and led us onward with love and grace and absolute faith in God.