Letter from Korea

(Korean Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs Presents)

Letter from Jeongyoon and Hyemin Han

Dear Korean War Veterans,

            This past week, my family and I had the great opportunity to interview 11 Korean War Veterans from Chapter 64 in Long Island. Although I had gone to Hawaii with my dad, Jongwoo Han, for interviewing the veterans living there, the trip to Long Island really showed me what a great project this is for all of the veterans, grandchildren, and all generations.

            After arriving in Long Island from a five hour drive all the way from Syracuse, NY (Upstate), and having a good night’s sleep, we went to Mr. Salvatore Scarlato’s beautiful home on Wednesday, July 19th, where my father would interview the Korean War Veterans in his “hidden museum” located in the basement. While my father interviewed the veterans, Hyemin, my older sister, would help out with filming, lighting, and setting up for the interview (a difficult process); my mom, Kyunghee Lee, was in charge of handling the veterans’ profiles, and I was in charge of taking care of the metadata (scanning the artifacts and asking questions about them), regarding letters, Korean/Chinese currency bills, photos, and posters. Bernard Dykes, Luigi Montani, Joseph De Palma, Bob Morga, Robert J Auletti, and Sal Scarlato had all been interviewed from 9 am to 6 pm. When Mr. Scarlato, the last person to be interviewed on Wednesday, had finished, all of us were glad that Day 1 of the Long Island KWV project had ended successfully.

            On the next day, Day 2, we were back to work starting at 9 am again at the Scarlato residence. There was the same process of work that had to be done within the day. On Thursday, William H. Arnaiz, Joseph J. Horton, William Puls, Irwin Saltzman, and John Sehejong Ha were interviewed, wrapping up the project in a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Over 11 hours of interview video were recorded, along with more than 100 pictures, posters, identification cards, letters, and artifacts scanned, which will soon be uploaded onto the digital memorial website (kwvdm.org).

            While in the car ride back to Syracuse, I realized what a blessing it was to be part of the Long Island KWVDM project. I learned many things from working with the Korean War Veterans. I learned about Mr. Montani’s Korean friends, only known by the names of “Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.” I listened to Mr. De Palma’s story of clearing out the DMZ area. Mr. Horton explained to me what a Pay Data Card was and what a Geneva Connections Identification Card was, and Mr. Puls shared with me pictures of Quonset huts and showers he had helped make during the war, while Mr. Saltzman showed me pictures of him when he was attending The Signal School and the interesting intersecting streets, one called Irwin St and the other Saltzman Avenue. Finally, Mr. Ha showed me his registration card and pictures of the commencement ceremony for his training school.  If I had not come with my dad to Long Island, I probably would not have been able to personally listen to the stories of the brave young soldiers, who are now grandparents and veterans of the Korean War, even though I myself am a Korean-American. I finally realized that everyone that is part of the KWVDM project should be truly blessed and that through this one website, the world will be opened to the stories of the brave young men, who came back home as proud soldiers and honorary Korean War Veterans.

            Soon, the title “The Forgotten War” will be thrown away, because through the digital memorial project, the Korean War and its memories will be remembered. We’d like to thank all of the Korean War Veterans who participated in the project, because without you, this project would never have happened. We hope to see you in Washington D.C.!

Thanks again,
Jeongyoon and Hyemin Han