Try Not To Cry As You Hear About These Korean Families Who Are Reunited After 65 Years
These Korean families were separated after the Korean War and were finally reunited after over 60 years
An article in the The New York Times tells the story of how this weekend Korean families were reunited after decades of separation. The reunion was part of a lottery that selects participants to be reunited with their family for three days in Seoul, South Korea. The first of these reunions was in 1985. Since these reunions began there have been over 20,000 people reunited with their families. In order for one of these meetings to happen, it has to be approved and agreed upon by both North and South Korea. According to The New York Times, “the reunions open a rare window into one of the most emotional legacies of the Korean War.”
The Korean War Quick Facts
The Korean War took place because Korea had been divided into two parts after the Japanese surrendered (prior, Korea had been under Japanese rule). The two halves of Korea held very different political values - one was “The Republic of Korea" (South Korea) and the other was “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea" (North Korea). North Korea wanted to reunify the country under communist rule.
The war technically ended in 1953, when South Korea and North Korea essentially agreed to disagree. However, one of the after effects was that it became impossible to travel between the two countries unless on a military mission.
Many of these families have been separated for over 6 decades and are lucky to still have loved ones that are alive. Because so many years have passed, many relatives can only recognize each other by their names and hometowns. Many people brought old photographs to help retrace memories.
One of the reunions was a 70-year-old North Korean with her father, now 100 years old. The daughter, Ahn Jong-soon asked her father, Ahn Jong-ho if he recognized her and tears began to stream down his face - so much so that he couldn't even respond verbally.
Other reunions involved parents asking their children, "do you have children? How many?" An older sister reunited with her two younger sisters asked, "How come you've aged so much?" It's clear that these reunions are both filled with joy and sorrow.
These reunions really put into perspective just how precious family is and just how divided North and South Korea truly are. South Korea has asked North Korea to allow for more of these reunions to take place as many families die without ever being reunited with their loved ones.
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