Veteran Stories:
Kyong-Ja “Kathy” Lee

Civilian

  • A photograph of Kyong-Ja "Kathy" Lee taken at the Korean Veteran Association's "Last Hurrah" in Winnipeg, Manitoba in August 2011.

    Kathy Lee
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"My childhood was painful which left a scar in my heart because of the Korean War."

Transcript

As I told you also, I was born in Pyongyang [North Korea] on May 5th, 1941. According to my birth certification paper, I was born in Chungju City, South Korea. Because according papers birth certification, had been burned by bombs during the Korean War. Therefore, shortly after Korean War, all South Korean people in cities and in towns had to re-register their birth certifications for their names, birth date, month, year and their birthplace, should be changed to the present address from the original birthplace on the birth certification papers.

I was a very happy child until Korean War occurred. My childhood was painful which left a scar in my heart because of the Korean War.

South Korea was crowded with Korean refugees during the Korean War. Quite a few Korean refugees were lived in the shelters which they built against the riverbanks. The Korean peoples were very hungry, so some young Korean children were looking for food in the garbage dumps and some Korean people ate frog legs, grasshoppers, bird, dogs or certain kind of a snake, rabbits.

We had a rabbit at our home which I loved very much. And one evening, my mother made a soup with the rabbit that I didn’t notice and I ate up very well and next day morning, I went to the rabbit to give a carrot, it was disappeared. So I cried to my mother, told that, that rabbit is disappeared and she told me that that rabbit we ate last evening.

Lots of Korean babies and toddlers, including lots orphan babies died with the lack of nourishment. The Koreans were poor, so they could not provide what they needed, food, houses, clothes. And I saw lots of beggars were asking food at mealtimes in front of each house which was increasing every day. And lots of young boys, shoe shiners, at the train station, at the bus station and on the streets for looking for customers to make money.

The other hand, I had to learn the many good lessons from the Korean War, such as God’s love, Christian’s love, parent’s love, helping other people, good quality of life, bad quality of life, hunger, fear, death. For this reason, Korean War is very important for me and I would like to present my valuable lessons which I had gained through the Korean War to my generations.

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