Home Editorial Activities Stories Links
  Saving Lives Feature Stories Having Fun Culture Conflict    
  Kiddy Car Airlift Orphanages Adopting Children Help from Home    


Pacific Stars and Stripes, Dec. 25, 1952

Marine Regiment 'Adopts' War-Torn Korean Village

WITH 1ST MARINE DIV, Dec. 25 (INS)- The Korean town of Tong Mon-ni is a long way from the Judean town of Bethlehem. But the spirit born in Bethlehem 1,952 years ago will hover over the mud huts of Tong Mon-ni on Dec. 25.

On Christmas day, grateful Korean townspeople will present a scroll and a ceremonial Korean costume to Father William P. Lane, Chicago, chaplain of the 11th Marine Regiment.

Then, Father Lane will carry off 50 children for a turkey-and-trimmings Christmas dinner, presents, and carol singing with the marines.

The Christmas spirit has dwelt in Ton Mon-ni since Aug. 17. That was the day the 11th Marines "adopted" the town's 4,000 men, women, and children.

SINCE THAT time the Marines have presented more than three tons of assorted clothing, food, and gifts to Tong Mon-ni. Korean kids in Sears-Robuck dungarees and plaid shirts are walking evidence of the Marine's bounty.

Today, in an alcove in the village hospital stands a Christmas tree draped with crepe paper and silver crosses. An arch of evergreens covers the spot where Police Chief Oh Sung Suk of Ton Mon-ni will tell Father Lane what the Marines' generosity has meant to his people.

Chief Oh will wear his usual costume of marine-green trousers and shirt, bright plaid socks, and white Korean rubber shoes.

Father Lane will wear a long, white, bell-shaped Korean robe and a high hat of black lacquered wicker.

"When the Marines first found our village," Chief Oh said, "we were desperate. The village was jam-packed with refugees evacuated from forward areas and there wasn't enough to eat even for the townspeople themselves."

"THE PITIFUL state of the children," Chief Oh continued, "first aroused the Marines' sympathy. Then they saw how badly we all needed help and began to shower us with clothing, food, medicines, building materials, and much kindness."

The "cage" will be empty on Christmas day through a special amnesty. The "cage" is the barbed wire enclosure where Chief Oh "imprisons" children who persist in wandering northward into the prohibited combat zone.

The Christmas spirit is strong in Koreans as well as in marines. Townspeople strive to help the even more unfortunate refugees.

"Christmas never meant anything to us in the past," said Chief Oh. "After all, most of us Koreans are not Christians. But now we know what it means. We've had one continuous Christmas for the past five months."




Home  |  Editorial  |  Activities  |  Stories  |  Links