The Korean War

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi
Nineteen men stomp through the bushes, guns in hand.

It's still and quiet here. The blood red colors of fall taint the trees. The men march on, their bodies are held stiff and eyes alert.

We can feel their fear.

Those nineteen figures are captivating and alive, despite the fact that they are made of stainless steel.

It's a very emotional place, the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. We visited this lovely city for the first time a few weeks ago, and the memorial was one of the first "must sees" on our list.

As we walked through the memorial, created by the architectural firm of Cooper-Lechy and completed in 1997, I couldn't help but study the faces of the people we passed. Why did they feel compelled to visit this place? Did they know someone in the war? Were they just here because it was part of the "sights" on the mall?

Were any of them about to be tied to Korea, just as we are?

There was a huge group of Asian tourists crowded around the wreath near the front of the memorial. I tried desperately to remember any of the Korean words I have learned, so if someone might glance at me, I could say hello. But I couldn't remember one. My mind was blank.

I thought about our baby. The international adoption culture as it exists now was developed because of this awful war--this war that claimed the lives of approximately 37,000 Americans and 2,000,000 Koreans.

My heart ached for all those parents who lost their children in the war.

And it aches again for the loss the Korean birth mothers must feel who choose adoption for their children.

Our visit to the memorial was really powerful. We reflected on the past, took stock of the present, and considered our future. So glad we went.

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi


  1. i visited d.c. for the first time last april as a chaperone for a group of 5th graders from madison schools...
    this memorial was one of my favorites, for so many reasons. i wanted to just sit in the grass beside it and wait. watch.
    i'm so glad that you were there.

  2. We visited d.c. several years ago and I found all the memorials to be very moving (I too have a picture of the "our nation honors her sons and daughters.." plaque). I can only imagine how emotional your visit was as you wait to adopt from a program that grew out of that conflict.


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