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North and South Korea are holding family reunification events this week for the first time since 2015. A group of 89 elderly South Koreans journeyed to North Korea’s Mount Kumgang resort to meet with family members they have not seen since the Korean War ended in 1953.
South Korea’s Yonhap News reported on Monday that some of the participants were so frail that they spent the reunion in wheelchairs or needed help to stand. The oldest visitor from South Korea was 101-year-old Baik Sung-gyu. A large staff of medical personnel was on hand to ensure the health and safety of all participants.
Scenes - Parents - Children - Time - Decades
The scenes of aged parents seeing their children for the first time in six decades were heartbreaking:
“Sangchol!” Lee Keum-seom, a 92-year-old South Korean woman, burst into tears as she called her son’s name when they met for the first time in decades. Her son also wept.
Lee - Rest - Family - Husband - Son
Lee was split from the rest of her family, including her husband and son, in the middle of the Korean War.
“How many kids do you have?” Lee asked her 71-year-old son, holding his hands tight.
Han - Shin-ja - Woman - Cry - Gyong-sil
Han Shin-ja, a 99-year-old woman, couldn’t say much except cry when she saw her two daughters—Kim Gyong-sil and Gyong-yong—both in their 70s.
The three used to live in Heungnam when the war broke out and were split during the Jan. 4 Retreat in 1951. They hugged one another without saying much for a while.
War… - Regret - Fact - Daughters
“When I escaped the war…” she said, unable to continue, apparently overwhelmed by regret over the fact that she had to leave her two daughters behind.
CNN noted the South Koreans were “told to avoid saying anything that could be misconstrued or considered insensitive...
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