OH Reflection by Alexis Pae

Topic: The Korean War
Interview Subject: Chung Ja Cho (my grandmother)


Before this project, I never talked to my grandmother about the Korean War. I knew the facts of the Korean War, but my grandma's recount of the events humanized the war and reveals what the Korean people personally experienced and felt. The Korean War is often called the "forgotten war." My interview shows we shouldn't forget. We should remember the lives that were lost, the brave soliders, and the impact the war had on our world.

At eight years old, my grandma lost fifteen family members, lost all of her wealth, and lost the life she knew. My grandmother's mother, father, younger brother, younger sister, uncle, grandma, her housemaids, and butler were killed. She, and many other Koreans, were immediately thrown into a different life. Sixty percent of my grandma's town was killed. The communist North Koreans targeted my grandmother and her family because of their wealth. Recalling how the North Koreans forced the South Korean people to step on the U.S. and UN soldiers to death still brings tears to my grandma's eyes.

I realized how grateful my grandmother and the Korean people are to the U.S. for saving them. Throughout the interview, I cannot stress enough, how often my grandmother kept repeating how thankful she is to the U.S. for their help.

The U.S. influence in the Korean War shaped South Korea culturally. Many of the Korean people, including my grandmother, became Christians. A democracy similar to the U.S. was established in South Korea; allowing principles such as freedom and capitalism. She also expressed her thanks to America for helping the South Koreans establish themselves after the War by providing business opportunities and jobs.

The impact the U.S. had in the Korean War proves that this event should NOT be forgotten in American history. It is because of U.S. influence that South Korea has emerged as the 4th largest economy in Asia and the 15th largest in the world. South Korea and their people, as we know them today has one of the highest standard of living and a democratic society where freedom of ideas and politics are allowed to thrive today.