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November 7, 2013 by Al Goff.

I know a veteran who was in South Korea in 1950 and 1951. The land was decimated with war and many families were killed or separated. Very few buildings remained standing in the city of Seoul. The stench of death was everywhere. Some must have wondered, “Is this what Armageddon will be like?”

When a train of American soldiers rolled in, it was immediately surrounded by hordes of starving orphaned children. Some of the soldiers pushed the children away. You see, there was a Longshoremen strike in San Francisco holding up food and other supplies to the troops. (Things have not changed much in 63 years.) The American soldiers had only their limited supply of C-rations to scarcely nourish themselves. But, some of them reached out to the children and gave them their last cans of food. Christ said, “I was hungry and you gave me food” (Matt 25:35).

When I prepared for a missions trip to South Korea in 1990, I knew that I was going to a place that was now very modern. I went to share my Christian testimony at eight college campuses. There was a great response, with the attendance at the Seoul meeting numbering over 6,000 students. However, in some cities, I was led away from areas where communists had incited campus riots. (Things have not changed much in 23 years.)

Why were the students rioting? What more could they want? God had blessed their people to have a heart for Christ. God had healed their land and they were indeed one of the most blessed people on the earth. But, here were people rioting because they forgot that they were blessed by God. And I was sad that it took only one or two generations after the war to forget the history of their nation and the sacrifices that were made for them.

Later during the trip, an elderly Korean man ran up to me and frightened me by wrapping his arms around me. He hugged me tightly, and he wept and cried out, “Komsa, Komsa, Komsa.” I wondered if, in God’s wonderful providence, this man had been one of those orphaned children, for it seemed that he was showing gratitude to this American in remembrance for another American who unselfishly shared with him the little food that he had.

In Luke 17, there is a story about ten lepers who called out to Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus instructed them to go show themselves to the priests, which was a biblical method of confirming healing. As the ten proceeded to obey they were healed on the way.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:15-18

korean-war-mem2How quickly we forget to give thanks. Some call the Korean War “The Forgotten War.” But, we will not forget. We will not forget you who fought and sacrificed in WWII, in the Korean War, VietNam War, Persian Gulf War and every conflict since then. Although War is Hell, you vets have taken the light of Christ to the otherwise darkest reaches of the world.

To those who fought for us and showed Christ’s love in the worst of conditions,
I write this in remembrance of you and echo the words of a grateful unnamed, but not forgotten Korean man. Thank you; thank you; thank you.