Dear Mr. Drake and members of the 326th CRC:
My name is Eddie Cho and I am one of your Manassas orphans. I was about four years old when the Korean War broke out. I remember my
father being taken captive by the North Koreans and my mother being so sick and eventually dying of the black plague while trying to escape, on
foot, from Seoul. This left my brother Woo Yeon (7 years old), my sister Ja Yeon (2 years old) and myself homeless, hungry and desperately
hopeless. I experienced a lot of sadness and loneliness during those days. But the miracle of being taken to your shelter where my brother, my
sister and I lived for many months will never be forgotten.
I have often thought of the American soldiers from the 326th Communication Reconnaissance Company who took care of us at the Manassas
orphanage. I had always wished that I could have known their names and addresses so that I could have expressed my gratefulness, but all I
remember about them was that they were the 326th Company. I didnâ€™t have any photos of them or names. What I did not realize was that
Mrs. Rue knew you and your unit very well. Recently, Mrs. Rue visited our home and brought your letter and photos, in connection with your
work in Korea.
You cannot imagine how thrilled I was to learn of your whereabouts, to see the photos, read your letters, hear of the Korean War Childrenâ€™s
Memorial, and the 50th year anniversary celebration. My life long wish to personally thank you for your loving care, kindness, and empathy shown
toward me and each orphan you cared for, has come true. I love the pictures-what a treasure! I have never seen anything like them. They remind
me so very much of my childhood days. I have reviewed each picture over and over again. And I can assure you that my best memories were
when I was at the Manassas orphanage under your care.
You gave us the best food and better care than all other orphanages in Korea. Under you, Mr. Drake, I had my first sip of Coca-Cola; it felt like
a thousand bee stings on my tongue. At first I thought I drank the wrong thing and would die. So many wonderful memories; you teaching us
English, telling stories, singing songs, taking us to church on Sunday mornings. Oh how we loved to ride to church in the American army truck. We
were kings of the world! You included us in each and every recreational activity, such as games and movies, with the spare time you had. I cherish
and thank you for those precious memories you provided for us at the Manassas orphanage.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to me if you and Mrs. Rue had not cared for me. Today I have no riches, fame, or social rank,
which our society views as successes, but I have been blessed with much greater riches. Those riches include Christian principles, the blessed
hope, the inner joy, and eternal values I hold in such high esteem today. I am certainly convinced that you made it possible for me to be the person
that I am today. No words can express my sincere gratitude for all you have done. I know that God will surely reward you in heaven someday for
each one of us that you cared for and loved. This is my sincere desire for you, Mr. Drake, the 326th CRC and Mrs. Rue.
I am anxiously looking forward to seeing you in Bellingham on the 27th of July. What a reunion that will be! I can hardly wait to see you again.
Thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart, Mr. Drake and to your gracious colleagues from the 326th Comm. Recon. Co. for
everything you did. May God bless you and keep you forever. With all my love and admiration I remain,
Sincerely yours, Eddie Cho
Since then I have met eight more children from those orphanage days, days that shaped their lives and mine. For me it was an eternal blessing to
get to know Grace Rue and to share with her, even for a brief moment, the monumental work that she was doing for the war child of Korea.
Grace (and Eddie Cho) came to Bellingham, Washington in July of 2003 for the dedication of the Korean War Childrenâ€™s Memorial in a park
near my home. I am now working on plans for a Korean War Childrenâ€™s Memorial to be placed in Seoul. It would be dedicated to the
500,000 children who died in that conflict and would honor those who helped save the lives of untold thousands of lost, traumatized, homeless
and hungry children. I can assure you that Grace Rue will certainly be among those honored by that memorial.
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George F. Drake (Korea fall-1952 to December 1953)