;On June 25, 1950, when North Korean bombs began dropping on South Korea, my grandmother fled her home in Seoul with her five children, including my then four-year-old mother. Cars were rare, and the only means of escape were by foot and by train. Seoul Station was packed with panicked citizens fighting to get on the southbound trains. The family had finally secured seats for themselves when someone screamed that young men should make room for women and children. The last thing my grandmother recalled was that her eldest child, then 17 years old, rose from his seat. “Don’t worry, Mother,” he told her. “I’ll be on the next train.” Except that hers was the last train out of Seoul. Later, neighbours reported seeing him, with his hands tied, being dragged away by North Korean soldiers.
Posted February 20, 2003