What Was It Like Growing Up During War?



Edward Choi, Journalist

The Korean War started June 25, 1950 and the Armistice ended the war in 1953. North Korean Soldiers came to his city, Kaesong which is now part of North Korea. Almost 5 million people died in the Korean War. Neither of them won but neither of them lost. Technically, the war is still going on right now. Neither of them signed a peace treaty, and South Korea didn’t sign the Armistice agreement. 

My grandpa was able to stay alive during the Korean War. He saw some horrible things in the war. He saw things like corpses, injured people in the alley of his house, and he saw people die. He was sympathetic towards them but he wasn’t allowed to approach those people or help them.  Also bombs came sometimes. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a time like that. 

He told me that a bomb came and made a swimming pool sized hole one time. When rain came people swam in it. That was one of the very few funny stories that happened during war. He was very scared but he was also young so he didn’t really know what was going on. There were many guns and it was very violent.

During the Korean War there wasn’t much school. It was his second year in primary school so he was about 7 or 8. There wasn’t much danger to him personally and the teachers acted confused. He had to evacuate to Incheon at one point and had to cross the Han river to get there. North Korean people would threaten people going to South Korea and there were a lot of rifle shootings. It was dangerous and you never knew if you would have enough to eat.

On the way to South Korea, he one time had to stay in a village alone with his brother. His mom (My Great Grandma) had to pick up his sisters back in Kaesung. (His home town) He cried a lot and he was scared that his mom wouldn’t come back. He also got Malaria, colds, and diarrhea. He didn’t have any injuries except scratches and scrapes.

Growing up in war would be horrible. I can’t imagine what it would be like. I am scared of blood and seeing all the dead bodies would traumatize me. I am so glad he survived through the war. He is a great Grandpa and if he hadn’t survived I wouldn’t be alive right now.


My Grandpa

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