The book “GIs and the Kids – A Love Story:
American Armed Forces and the Children of Korea 1950-1954” will
be available for sale by the end of April 2005. This is the first publication
to come out of the research conducted for the Korean War Children's
Memorial project. This book is the catalogue of the photo exhibit of
the same title that will have its first showing in Las Vegas, Nevada
at the MGM Grand on Memorial Day, 30 May, 2005.
The book is 11-1/2 inches tall by 8 inches wide and
has forty pages, counting the covers. It includes all 35 panels of the
photo exhibit plus a preface by William F. Asbury, an introduction by
George F. Drake and an epilogue by Al Zimmerman. Drake did the research
and the writing while Zimmerman was responsible for art direction and
design. During the Korean War Bill Asbury visited upwards of a hundred
Korean orphanages and knew intimately the situation facing the war child
of Korea. His preface captures the essence of what this project is all
about and we print it here in its entirety.
AN ARMY OF COMPASSION
A scant five years after the 13 million Americans under arms began
leaving the battlefields of World War II, GI's were summoned to
the Korean Peninsula, a place unknown to most Americans at the time.
Soldiers of Communist North Korea, in force and massively armed,
moved quickly south with Pearl Harbor-like surprise to conquer the
neophyte democracy of the Republic of Korea.
The extraordinary photographs and stories in this booklet tell the
story of the war within the Korean War that followed the Communist
assault. That internal war was the long battle to save the lives
of Korean children from perhaps the greatest concentration of destruction
in the history of American warfare. The area of the Korean Peninsula
is comparatively small. The Communist armies, including China's,
pushed the GI's and their UN allies into a small and compressed
perimeter around Pusan in the southern tip of the peninsula.
Then came the allied invasion of Inchon west of Seoul. That enabled
the breaking of the Pusan Perimeter and more fierce fighting on
the long march north by the GI's and their allies. In the awful
process some towns and villages changed hands repeatedly.
The principal victims of this back and forth by great armies were
Korean families, especially children. An estimated 100,000 Korean
kids were orphaned. Orphanages needed to be created. Medicine became
essential. So, too, were clothing and blankets to protect homeless
infants from the ravages of Korea's killing winters.
The GI was up to those needs. He and she took responsibility for
individual kids. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and even Merchant
Marine units "adopted" entire orphanages. American military
forces became an army of compassion, perhaps as never before or
Privates, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants and colonels sent home
pictures of baby Kim or Lee or Shin and thus solicited enormous
help from their stateside American families. It was personal help,
with gifts of cash or substance accompanied by letters.
At this writing five decades after the outpouring of love and life-saving
gifts by American servicemen and women in Korea, the talk of this
decade is about family values. Shall we discern in Korea in the
early 1950's anything less than manifest and genuine family values?
Perhaps the difference between then and now is that the GI back
then defined "family" as a global entity, without ethnicity
and not necessarily within the boundaries of his native America.
This booklet helps greatly to right the wrong of a notable historical
oversight. It displays and chronicles what very young American military
men and women did to help the most helpless victims of the Korean
War, the children.
William F. Asbury, Editor (retired),
Field Director, Korea, Christian Children’s Fund 1951-1954
The publication is priced at $15 per copy with a 40% discount for orders of 10 or more copies. Washington State customers will have to pay state sales tax of 8.2% per copy. We will calculate postage costs and post them here as soon as we have copies to weigh.
All income from the sale of the book will be deposited
in the KWCM Fund at the Whatcom Community Foundation to help fund Korean
War Children's Memorial projects which include the construction of the
memorial pavilion, the maintenance and expansion of the web site and
further research and publication on this topic.
George F. Drake - 11 April 2005