My mom was born in North Korea. When she was twelve, she, her mom (my grandmother), older sister, and two younger brothers walked for days from the North to South Korea. They left her father behind with the expectation that he would rejoin within weeks. Instead, the Korean War broke out. Since that time, till today, for over 60 years, she has had no communication with her father. She does not even know if the father is still alive or passed away, and if he died, how or when. Whenever there is a family gather, we start with a prayer and my mother starts to cry. As soon as she utters the words; “Our father,” I know she is referring to God but am aware that she has been wanted to call out to her own beloved father. We immigrated to the U.S. in order to be reunited with my grandmother, aunts and uncles. My mother’s brother sponsored my mom. My mom chose to come because keeping the family together meant everything for her. Yet, it was not an easy choice. To come, she also had to leave behind her oldest son, my brother, because he was 22 years of age and there were limited visas for adult children. I can remember the day we said goodbye to my brother at the airport. My mother cried the entire ride on the plane. We arrived in America in 1988. Until my brother was able to join us 5 years later, whenever we gathered to eat, my mother would say “Oh Father” and “Please take care of our Hak Joong.” And then my mother wept. Korean Americans have endured painful separations because of the Korean War. America must have an immigration system that unites families. Immigration is about family.
Submitted by Dae Joong Yoon - Los Angeles, CA
**Please note: This photo was submitted by a NAKASEC, KRCC, kRC staff member and is meant to serve as a sample for the “We Are America, America is Home” photo contest. This will not be part of the final batch of photos that will be considered in the actual contest and is not eligible to be voted on for prizes. **