A Soldier’s Memory of South Korea

Long-time Bedford resident Joe Damery – Courtesy image all rights reserved

By Joseph Damery

It was early April near the outskirts west of Pyongtaek, South Korea…

The weather was perfect for a Photo-Walking tour via the Dikes that surrounded the many Rice-Paddies within a 2-mile range of My assigned, “Marine-air base K-6”,  and I had a Day off….

My 5th Air-Force USAF Air-Tfc-Control-Tower duties allowed 2 days-off every  5  Duty Days and Nights….    Stopping at a Klatch of 5 Mud-Brick houses, I  was Setting my, Camera for some photos of a  Large Momma-Sow and her Hungry set of Piglets…   They were contained in a Simple, but neat Enclosure made of Wood and Thatched Rice-Straw…..

A Sign indicated that She was a Gift from, Texan 4hr’s to the People of Korea…    While taking some shots, a nearby man’s Voice said, So-distinctly;  “Spring has Come!”…..     A young  25-year-old man approached me, speaking quite clear English…

He was, Offering his hand, and saying; “My name is,  Kwang-Soo-Chang, teacher of languages,  at  P’yongtaek High School. May I invite you into my home to meet my family?”…..

Bowing in their custom,  I entered while he introduced his Young wife and infant son….   He assured me, that Once-well-Boiled, the Water would make Excellent tea, which indeed it did…    after a few minutes, he pointed to his Library – a Wooden-shelf w/ many  Soft-Cover Text Books, one of which was, “WALDEN”…

Upon learning that my home was only 4 miles from that Location, he was Excited beyond-words…      Mr. Chang asked if I would read a few Paragraphs….   It was my Very-First-time for ever reading that Classic.  Truly I had never taken the time to do so back at Home in Bedford, Mass.  …

His response to my Reading aloud  made Me feel most-humble indeed,  in the Presence of this Educated Man and his wife and Child…      He asked if I would consider doing so for his High-School Classroom, and eventually in Weeks to come I  borrowed a Base-Jeep and did so…

I was applauded by those boys and girls and felt so very-Honored Indeed…

Now at 85, my memory of that Occasion is so-clear as if it had happened just Days ago…

I hope this Story will be of some interest to Just anyone who might read it.


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