Bittersweet Reunions for Korean Families



The demilitarized zone not only creates a barrier between North and South Korea, but it also creates one between the families separated during the Korean War (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credit to Korea_Style).

Although they did not lose their lives like many had, the families in Korea during the Korean War did lose something just as important. They were stripped of each other almost 70 years ago and were unable to reconnect because of the strict rules about communication across the border. Recently, that fact has been changed and some of the families got to reunite for the first time in a long time. However fortunate it was for the families to reconnect, is was very unfortunate that the need for reuniting was there in the first place.

“What happened 70 years ago was morally unjust. But, I don’t think it could have been avoided because of the differing government systems,” said junior Max Winsch.

The families were separated so long ago that some of them were just children. Meaning, they vaguely remember, if they do remember, anything about what happened. Now separated by the demilitarized zone many years later, never getting to experience their childhood with their parents, siblings, grandparents or any family at all. Upon meeting, many families were ecstatic that they were finally getting to meet people they were either too young to remember or have missed after all this time.

“The longest I’ve ever been away from my family was about two weeks. But that was okay because I didn’t have to worry about never seeing my parents again. It would be a completely different story if I knew something like what happened with these families was going to happen,” said senior Corey Curtis.

Millions of people were separated, so a lottery was set in place in order to determine who would get to see each other again. Only 100 families were chosen to reunite with their family. Several did not decide to participate when they found out that the only family they had on the other side was no longer alive. The families that did get to reunite were extremely emotional after finally getting together with someone they have missed after all this time has passed.

“Although I have never been away from my family for long, I am always really happy to see them even if it’s just been a few days,” said junior Jonathan Schrader.

Sadly, the families only got a few days to see each other again, before they had to go back home. Even though the families had been separated for so long and they only had a short time to reunite, their bond still stayed strong as they parted ways.

“I feel like I wouldn’t have an identity without my family. I wouldn’t know much about my families past. If I was that young I wouldn’t even remember the most important people in my life. It would be hard to let go after finally getting to meet them,” said junior Olivia Leonard.