After bonding with veterans at the local clinic I volunteered in since middle school, I was inspired to visit the Veterans Hall. The Hall became my weekend sanctuary as veterans would warm-heartedly greet me and tell stories of their life-or-death situations during the Korean War.
I joined the veterans to a commemoration event for all of Korea one day. Compelled to have my questions about health and supplies during the war answered, I approached a veteran I had never met before. He wore so many flashy badges and medals that it was impossible not to notice and talk to him.
I learned that the veteran I had approached, Hee Mo Park, was the President of the Korean War Veterans Association. After the interview, I was so shocked by his answers; when asked how he was able to go through each day, Veteran Hee Mo Park told me his motivation was the exact thought that he could die the very morning he woke up to.
I was so shaken by his responses that I had to sit down to collect myself. I realized I had been living so blithely and unaware of what had really happened, less than 70 years ago, on the grounds I stood on. After the interview, I was determined to spread awareness of the horrors of war to youths my generation and help more realize the costs of peace.
I interviewed over 20 veterans all over South Korea and wrote a book of over 100 pages about the several veterans I met.
Click here to see excerpts of my book, Sounds of the War’s Torments.