A time to remember sacrifice
Thursday, 02 November 2017
By Chaplain (Maj.) Se Woo Park
Special to GUIDON

During my  deployment to Iraq seven years ago, I had a chance to visit Harbor Gate, which is close to Iran. The people in that area were very friendly and enjoyed talking and sharing food with us.

One day, a local man said to me, “Friend, I am very depressed, because the current government killed my brother and uncle. My people have a very sad history. We want to be independent from this country.”  

I replied, “My home land, Korea, also has a very sad history. For a period of history, we were invaded every three years from neighboring countries like Japan and China. But my ancestors protected our people and country while sacrificing their lives.”

I went on to explain that even though Genghis Khan attacked and subdued many countries in Asia and Europe, Korea never yielded to his subjugation.

10 years ago, I visited Dabudong Battle Memorial Park near Daegu, South Korea with my father-in-law. He and I found a memorial wall at the park upon which Korean heroes’ names were etched. My father-in-law found his friend’s name on the wall and paused in appreciative thought for a while. He shared that this memorial reminded him of the many people who have sacrificed and shed blood to protect their country. It was powerful for him to remember that even though many of those people have disappeared, their descendants continue to enjoy the freedom and peace they sacrificed for.

When King David was dying (II Samuel 23), he remembered 37 of his warriors’ names; Adino the Eznite, Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, Shamma the son of Agee the Hararite, etc. He kept their names in his heart and mind for more than 40 years in appreciation of their sacrifice for Kingdom of Israel.   

 Like David, we need to remember our freedom is not free and we enjoy peace only at a great cost.

As veterans and military members, we remember the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, “The Soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the Soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

(Editor’s note: Park is the 14th Military Police Brigade chaplain.)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2017 )