Pacific Stars and Stripes,
Dec. 26, 1951
By William C. Barnard
SEOUL (AP)- Christmas came to
Sam Sung orphanage Monday and it was a heart-breaking thing to see.
Watch something like that and you know for sure
what a lousy lot of difference a few thousand miles of ocean can make.
Santa never could have found the Sam Sung home-the low, sprawling, broken
buildings-so far back in the rubble of Seoul.
But three American soldiers found it. That's why
every one of the 55 war waifs squealed with delight and hugged to his
heart his own, personal, toy.
Gene Robert, a 22-year old sandy haired sergeant
from Wymore, Neb., was so moved he couldn't stand to watch it. He had
to go outside.
So did Lt. Henry Giowacki of Brooklyn. He has children
of his own.
And PFC Sig Front, Jr., of Wheeling, W. Va., said:
"It hit you right where you live to watch those kids who've been hurt
by this war more than anybody. It hits you when you know you can ease
their pain a little-but you can't ever replace their loss."
He was so right, too. Dolls and red trucks and toy
saxophones don't bring back mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers.
Skip ropes and harmonicas don't rebuild a bomb blasted family home in
a once peaceful Korean valley. Toys can't even wipe out a terrifying
childish memory of being suddenly and miserably and bitterly alone.
The 55 shivering tykes at Sam Sung Orphanage all
have memories like that. Take a grim look at some of the case histories:
Nine-year old In Chung Kil was found abandoned and
alone in a ruined village near Uljongbu in western Korea. A South Korean
military policeman loaded him into a jeep and brought him to Seoul.
His parents are "missing"-casualties of war.
In another ruined village, north of Chunchon, soldiers
found nine-year old Kang Su Pok, who carries her little sister Kang
Sun Pok on her back. All day long at the orphanage, the black haired
older girl, clad in a drab American sweater, carries and tends the little
sister-filling in for the dead parents. There's a little brother, too.
Where is he? Maybe he's in some other orphanage. Maybe he's dead.
And, among the other orphans in the Sam Sung home,
was Kim Yung Hi, seven-year old, whose eyes were so inflamed she could
hardly bear to open them. In a war rubbled village near Yonchon, her
parents perished of typhoid fever. Her grandfather and an aunt started
fleeing southward with the child. The bitter march was too much for
the grandfather. He died on the way. Probably that's what happened to
the aunt, too. For Kim Yung Hi was found abandoned and alone and brought
to the Seoul orphanage.
All the sadness and misery of war was in the face
of Lee Su Pok, who has been blind for ten of his fifteen years. This
boy's home was in the bitterly fought over Hwachon reservoir section
of central Korea and his parents are-"missing." Once his mother and
father guided and card for him. Now he is a desolated figure indeed-a
thin, hungry boy with long sensitive fingers who pushes and feels his
way around the orphanage.
Why is he hungry? Well, hunger is the rule at Sam
Sung orphanage where each child gets two handfuls of rice a day-and
sometimes a bit of barley to go with it.
There's no heat at Sam Sung, either, and no light-but
of all the lacks, the lack of food is the worst.
That's why the three American soldiers brought all
that food out for the Christmas dinner. The orphans never had seen such
a dinner before-beef, chicken, fish, rice cakes, and even boiled eggs
"They ate till they popped and
their eyes were big as saucers," Sig Front said. "From now on, Roberts
and Glowacki and I will keep an eye on the orphanage and do everything
we can. The hard part is-there's so damned much misery out there that
can't be healed with food and money."