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Celebrating Young Adult Volunteers

Minute for Mission: Celebrating Young Adult Volunteers

“It was a very painful but meaningful time to think again about what it means to live as a Christian and as an American in this world.” This was a comment from Dia, one of the Young Adult Volunteers (YAVs) from 2016–17, after we visited No Gun Ri, the site of a massacre of Korean civilians committed by U.S. soldiers at the beginning of the Korean War. Believing the civilians to be communists, the U.S. military killed 250–300 people, mostly women and children, from July 26 to 29 in 1950, attacking them as they sought shelter under a railroad bridge. Visiting this site is always painful for me. As a site coordinator who is also a Korean, learning about my own history that is related to the U.S. along with YAVs is a powerful and meaningful experience. Stories like these are often ignored or well-hidden, even though there are people who are still suffering from the wounds of these incidents to this day. Learning stories like this may lead to discomfort as we come to face a distorted tragedy. Nevertheless, I believe that we must uncover and retell the stories like this. History can teach us not to repeat gruesome mistakes and it can also teach us how we can live our lives more responsibly in our present day.