Truth Is My Sword Volume I -Collected Speeches in the Public Arena
by Bo Hi Pak
60th Birthday Celebration: With Abiding Gratitude
August 23, 1990
In the following speech, delivered on the occasion of Dr. Pak's 60th birthday celebration, Dr. Pak reviews the events of his remarkable life, one in which he rose from a Korean farm boy to a witness of and participant in world historic events. Dr. Pak gave the following remarks at his 60th birthday celebration on August 23, 1990, at the Crystal Gateway Hotel in Washington, D.C. Dr. Pak, his family, and many, many friends spent an evening together testifying to how Heavenly Father has used Dr. Pak to support Rev. and Mrs. Moon in the building of God's kingdom on earth.
Ambassador MacArthur, Ambassador Choo, Ambassador Han, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Ron Godwin, distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. Sixty years ago, on August 18, a country boy was born in a very remote Korean village. That little boy had no idea what he would be like, or what the world would be like, when he reached the age of 60.
Today that humble Korean boy is being honored in this palatial auditorium in the capital of the most powerful nation on earth, as chairman and president of the most powerful-and feared-and revered newspaper in the United States. For me it is hard to believe that it is the same Korean farm boy.
The words of tribute I have heard from Ambassador Han, Arnaud, Ron, and others, deeply touched and inspired me, and the secret documentary on me that I saw for the first time tonight almost convinces me that, like Henry Kissinger, I have become a legend in my own mind.
I am also sure The Washington Times' headline I saw will be picked up by the international media and might beat out the Iraqi story for the first time since that crisis began to dominate the news.
For all this and more that you have so meticulously prepared upon the occasion of this special 60th birthday celebration, I am deeply grateful and eternally indebted to you all. But I must sincerely say that I have not yet earned this beautiful tribute and honor. Nevertheless, I feel it was worth living and waiting for these 60 years just to attend your party. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please accept my heartfelt appreciation.
In Occupied Territory
During the last 60 years, I have been an eyewitness to the most incredible unfolding of events in human history. Fifty years ago, during World War II, I was obliged to be on the side of the imperial Japanese emperor, swearing loyalty to him as a living god every morning. I was then 10 years old, and Korea was under Japanese occupation.
Like other Koreans, I was overjoyed by the liberation of my country from Japanese annexation in 1945. The Republic of Korea was established in 1948. In 1950, at the age of 20, I was selected to attend the Korean military academy. I jubilantly entered the Korean West Point, and dreamt of becoming a general.
But that dream lasted only 25 days. The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and the cadets were among the first troops deployed to stop the enemy. After just three days of combat, my class was reduced by two-thirds. At 20 years of age I knew the bitter taste of bloody warfare.
During the three years of the Korean conflict, countless times I watched my comrades die. I came to know the meaning of the words "through the valley of the shadow of death." When I look back, it is almost impossible to believe that I could be alive today.
I can explain it in one way only. Ladies and gentlemen, I firmly believe that the invisible, providential hand of God has been upon me from the very first day of my life. This 60th birthday is truly a miracle to me. The first thing I did this morning was kneel down before God and tearfully thank Him for giving me my life and for bestowing upon me a great purpose and mission.
I also feel a deep gratitude to Reverend Sun Myung Moon. He led me to God and gave me an understanding of my life's meaning and purpose. Reverend Moon showed me an example of God's love in action. He truly is my spiritual father.
I would like you to know what I consider to be the three greatest blessings of my life. The first is that I met Reverend Moon 33 years ago. He changed my entire perspective and ignited an inner revolution in me.
As a Young Officer
The year was 1957. The Korean War was over, and this young Korean officer was desperately searching for the meaning of life and death, which I had witnessed so many times on the battlefield.
I did not know God yet. I began reading the Bible. It was for me a most difficult book to understand. I tried to follow its teachings but was not too successful. I also studied Confucianism, but even those great teachings did not satisfy the hunger of my soul. My inner life remained confused and miserable.
Then one day I encountered the teachings of Reverend Moon. After two days I felt like I had come out of a dark tunnel. For the first time I could see broad daylight. I felt hope and energy and a sense of mission. The most difficult questions I had been considering were answered by his teachings.
In essence Reverend Moon's teaching is the great commandment of Jesus: Love your God with your whole mind, heart, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. I had read that passage many times before, but it did not really affect me fully until I studied with Reverend Moon. All of a sudden God became very real in my life. The same commandment of Jesus now brought a new seriousness and meaning. Since that time it has become my life's motto. For 33 years, although I am imperfect, it has motivated my every action, every deed, every project I have undertaken.
Someone gave me a beautiful nickname a few years ago: Mr. Bubbling Enthusiasm. (By the way, Ron Godwin has given me another one: The Phantom.) I really like being Mr. Bubbling Enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek entheos, meaning God enters. That is exactly right. If I am a man of enthusiasm, it is because God has entered my soul.
I want to serve God and humanity. In everything I do I want that ethic to be the bottom line. That is my motivation, whether the work is here at The Washington Times in the nation's capital or at the Panda Motors project deep inside the mountains of China.
Ambassador Choo, I am very honored by your presence tonight, as well as by that of Mrs. Choo. I want you to know, Mr. Ambassador, that I have become a lover of the Chinese people. Thousands of your countrymen will work with Panda Motors in the future, and I assure you that they will not simply be employees. I look at them as my brothers and sisters. I am desperately trying to succeed with the Panda project in China, and I want it to be very profitable. Yet not one penny of the profits will be removed from China. That is the principle of Reverend Moon. The profits will go toward the building of schools, colleges, hospitals, libraries, roads, bridges, and hundreds of other projects in China. Panda Motors is in your country to serve your countrymen.
This Great Country
Of course, ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret that I love this country of America very much. In the documentary, you heard that I owe my life to America. Without those gallant American soldiers with whom I fought side by side in the Korean War, I would not be standing here today. Forty million of my countrymen would not have enjoyed the freedom of the past 40 years. The 1988 Seoul Olympics would not even be a dream without America.
When I came to this great country as a diplomat in 1961, the first thing I did was write "My Tribute to America." Yesterday I read it again. It was so refreshing. I love America because this nation is a God-loving nation and because the American people are generous. This nation gave birth to many God-inspired heroes and heroines. It is my firm belief that God has abundantly blessed this nation because it was founded for the purpose of fulfilling His will.
Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal... and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." To me this is an eternal truth, and the recognition of this truth is what makes America great. As long as this nation abides by such a principle, it will never leave the grace of God.
That is why I am so proud of our newspaper. The Washington Times has been called America's Newspaper, and now America's Newspaper has become America's No. 1 Newspaper.
Ladies and gentlemen, my second greatest fortune in life is my family. I was reared by most devoted and sacrificial parents. They did not have any religion. I lived in a family with four children, one brother and two sisters. My parents did everything they could for the sake of their children. My mother worked so hard for our sake. For that reason, under the dire circumstances of poverty, she could not live long. When my mother died, my whole world sank before me. My parents were the epitome of sacrificial love. They wanted me to succeed, but they were not able to see my success. If I have any regret tonight, it is that my mother and father could not be here with us for this beautiful celebration.
I have been blessed with a most wonderful and devoted wife. Without her totally sacrificial devotion and support to me and my mission, I could not have accomplished what I have. God blessed us with six beautiful children, three boys and three girls. They are all grown up now and better educated that their dad ever was. I am most grateful to God that all of my children share the same fundamental values that my wife and I cherish and hold so dear. We are now the happy grandparents of seven grandchildren. One has just arrived, and another will be coming within the year. You know, my wife is more devoted to her grandchildren than to her husband. I could try to compete but I know that this is one competition I cannot win.
Ladies and gentlemen, finally, my third greatest fortune in life is that I have been entrusted with so many challenging and creative duties. Of all that I have accomplished, I am most proud to have been a pioneer of this great newspaper, The Washington Times, and the great magazines, Insight and The World & I.
In 1982 The Washington Times was simply a mission impossible. You know that virtually all the experts predicted that we would not last more that six months. But we proved them wrong. We have been thriving for more than eight years. During that time our newspaper has become a model for the world, as well as one of the most influential newspapers in the country.
Since we began publication, each good president of the United States has read our newspaper first thing every morning. And thus far, we have not had any bad presidents.
Perhaps most significantly, these publications were given birth to in the most critical time period in human history, the 1980s. Why do I say this? I firmly believe that our newspaper and magazines have played a crucial role in shaping human history and world affairs at a time when a sweeping international realignment is occurring. We have played a vital role in the revival of the American spirit, the demise of the Brezhnev doctrine, the reversal of Soviet expansionism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the birth of new democracies in Eastern Europe, glasnost and perestroika in the USSR, and the unification of East and West Germany. Who in the world could ever deny that The Washington Times, Insight, and The World & I were instrumental in the dramatic turnabouts in world events?
Together with all of you, we have pioneered and built this organization under the inspiration and guidance of Reverend Moon. We have been successful in exercising a correct influence in America and the world. Therefore, it is certainly most meaningful for me to celebrate this 60th birthday together with the Washington Times Corporation. There is nothing more that I could ask for.
My final duty tonight is to offer a tribute. First, I salute the Washington Times Corporation's heroes and heroines who have been fighting brilliantly, beating the odds and building this great media institution. I especially salute the efforts and leadership of Ambassador Han, whose inspiration guided this celebration, and the efforts of our messianic editorin-chief, Arnaud de Borchgrave, along with those of his equally brave and charming wife, Alexandra. I also salute Ron Godwin, who is leading a "Top Gun" business team and fighting toward victory. You are indeed all great people and we share a great mission.
Second, I salute those distinguished guests who have supported our endeavor all this time with their wise and trusted counsel. Your presence tonight is especially appreciated.
Third, I salute my closest and fondest associates and brothers and sisters. You are truly my comrades-in-arms. We have toiled together through many sleepless nights on so many great projects. I will never ever forget your devotion and contributions in making my various missions possible.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see, I am deeply touched. My spirit is moved. This is one evening when it is very difficult for me to make a long story short. I want you to know, however, that before coming to this party tonight I shortened my 3-hour speech to 19 minutes, 45 seconds.
God bless you. God bless your families. And God bless your important work. Thank you very much.
August 20, 1990
Dear Dr. Pak:
Barbara and I are delighted to send best wishes as you celebrate your 60th birthday.
What a remarkable life you've led -- great in experiences and great in accomplishments! We join your family and friends in wishing you a wonderful celebration, surrounded by the warmth of happy memories and secure in the knowledge that you have made this a better world.
God bless you.
Facsimile of the letter Dr. Pak received from President George Bush, on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
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