It was in 1973 when I was a second grader at Sangmyeong school when you were with an American design firm named Trans-Asia Engineers (TAE) in Main Post of Yongsan Garrison. You had to pick me up at my school in Samkakji as my class ended about 2 p.m. While you had to stay with a large slanted drafting board until five in the afternoon, I walked around the offices peeking into here and there.
U.S. Army Yongsan Garrison are nearly completing their relocation to a new home in Pyeongtaek, leaving behind fine memories of the 73 years of Yongsan legacy. K-6 or Camp Humphreys, is a fine region for your cantonment, with an abundant underground water source.
“If we knew each other. If we understood each other as a friend. This foolish war would never have happened. I sincerely hope that a day would come where everyone could overcome their differences through talking and not fighting. Finally, we are friends now,” the former Imperial Japanese Navy pilot who had dropped the first and only bomb onto the American soil, wrote in his diary.
Time flew fast, and in September 2018, President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea and their entourages went up to Mount Baekdu (spelled Paekdu in North Korea). And the First Lady of South Korea brought a plastic bottle of water scooped at Mount Halla, the southernmost island of Korea, and poured into the crater lake called “Heaven Lake,” on the peak of the mountain. Then President Moon scooped the Heaven Lake’s water into the same bottle and brought back to Seoul.
P.S. In Nagano, Japan, I was one of the chosen physically fit boys who were pre-designated to be recruited to serve for the Japanese special force but the war ended before I reached the age. Instead I served three years for the Korean Navy attached to the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet on the East Sea in the Korean Campaign. I then had been employed by an American architect and engineering firm and served for the U.S. Forces at K-6/Camp Humphreys, U.S. Army Yongsan Garrison, and then U.S. Navy Seabees in Vietnam, all together for 25 years.