Truth is My Sword, Volume II
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 24 Testimony to the Power of God [Part 1]
Tarrytown, New York
August 28, 1977
Using examples from the life of Jesus, Dr. Pak talks with great insight about the qualifications needed to follow the Messiah. He glues one of the most extensive and honest testimonies of his own life, describing how God guided him to meet the Unification Church and True Father, and prepared him to become Father's translator. With Apostle Stephen as his guide, he also shares how he is preparing himself to come before the Fraser committee.
[A few testimonies were given at the start of Sunday service.]
I am sure many of you have had similar heartwarming experiences. I am sorry I couldn't give every one of you a chance to speak. In due course, I am sure you will have a chance to express yourself. Your time will come.
It is always beautiful to hear a testimony. The brother and sister spoke so beautifully because they are so genuine. No pretense there. This comes directly out of their hearts, so we can see where he is and where she is. It is absolutely beautiful. The beauty of spirit.
Sometimes we wonder, why am I here? The Unification Church is such a gigantic, universal, global dispensation. The work of God is mighty, and we are the destiny of spirit world and physical world. We hear such monumental things about the dispensation. Also, when we learn the Divine Principle, inevitably we come to the conclusion that a universal, historical event is happening right here. Then you look at yourself. Who am I? Am I good enough to be a part of this important mission? I am not very good. I didn't learn much. I am not that smart. I am not a Harvard Ph.D. So if God is almighty and all-capable, I am sure He could summon all the big people in the world: intellectual people, professors, ministers, politicians, and Nobel prize winners. These people are far more fitted for this place. Who am I?
So, our situation is unreal and artificial. Who am I? How do I fit into this mission? I tell you, the answer is that you are like the tip of the iceberg. You only see the visible you, just one individual. But I want you to know that each one of you sitting in this room does have an invisible you, a spiritual you. You are like a tree, and you are positioned at the top of the tree. You are the fruit of the tree. What is this tree? This is the tree of history, the ancestral tree.
Let's say your name is Jim. For Jim to come and sit in this position, there is a long, long history dating back to Adam and Eve. Literally to Adam and Eve. Because human history, after all, started from one man and one woman created by God. Jim is related to that man and woman. So he has a long history that can be made into a family tree. You are the fruit of history, the total sum or total aggregation of the family tree. So it's good that you feel that you are not worthy to be here. That is a good and humble feeling. Yes, I do feel, as you feel, that I am not worthy. But then we must attribute some greatness to our ancestors. You can say proudly that you are here because your ancestors did something right. They did something right for you. That is why you are here.
The Soil of History
Take little Linda, for example. Little Linda is five years old, but her will power is far more than a five-year-olds will power. There is a long, long family tree behind her. The aggregation of good of that family appears in Linda. Linda is a little flower blossoming in the soil of history. That is what all of you are. You are very, very precious in the sight of God. Otherwise, you couldn't be here. You are not just a number. You are not just a computer number. Nowadays everybody is recognized by numbers. Here in America your name is no longer significant. Your Social Security number is more important. The two most important numbers in America are the telephone number and the Social Security number. John Doe or Bo Hi Pak or Linda so-and-so are not that important. Because machines handle numbers far better than names, the computer hates names and loves numbers. America is more and more becoming a computerized country. So each individual is becoming a number.
But not in the sight of God. In the sight of God, no number is important. Your soul, your individuality is important. You are not just you. You are the aggregation of the entire human history. That is why you are here. It is very, very important to know this so we can give tribute to our ancestors.
Another reason you are here is this: God wanted to show His almighty grace and power by having nonentities like you and me become sons and daughters of God. You can read in Luke 3:8-9: "...do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." God was scolding the Jews, telling them not to be proud of their heritage. Unless you are doing the will of God, that is not important. The important thing is that God can make the children of Abraham out of stone and dirt.
This is another reason we are here. You are not a Ph.D. I am so glad we are not all Ph.D.s. I am so glad we are not all college graduates. We are glad we do not come from a noble or royal family. I am so glad we are not important senators and congressmen of the country. They are very important people, yet God wanted to show His power by picking people like you and me to be the true sons and daughters of God. How much more dramatic an expression of the power of God! Jesus' disciples 2,000 years ago were not chosen from the high priests. Jesus' disciples were fishermen, even prostitutes. Those were the first followers of Jesus Christ. They came before any high priests or kings and queens of that age. That is the way God used His power.
Another important reason that God chose you and me is that we are nonentities and therefore can be humble. Over and over in history we have seen that people who are somebody lose the quality of humility before God. God will not build His kingdom on wisdom alone. On knowledge alone. On capability alone. On appearance, never. The essential quality to be chosen by God is meekness of heart. Your softness. Your humility. The worst enemy of God and the worst enemy of Jesus, the worst enemy of our Father is arrogance.
Arrogant Before God
Today, here in America the worst barrier that exists between Americans and the truth of God is arrogance. America is arrogant. American people feel we are first-class citizens. We have the best of everything under the sun. We don't need anything from Korea. That kind of arrogance. "Oh, I already have the truth. I am a minister of a church. I have been a theologian for so many years. I don't need any further truth. I learned the Bible from cover to cover. I became a Ph.D. of the Bible. I learned and I know God. Don't tell me about God. Why are you talking about the Divine Principle? Why are you talking about a new revelation? Why are you talking about Reverend Moon coming to teach America? We already have everything. We have beautiful churches. We are Christians." That arrogance makes a barrier between Americans and God.
You see, you and I have the privilege of worshiping together in the name of True Parents in this place because you and I at least demonstrated humility. You confess that your heart is empty. You know that you alone cannot find God. You confess you need help. Your open mind has brought God into your heart. So you are here for two reasons: your ancestors plus your humility. Our ultimate success also rests on our humility. In the Unification Church if you become arrogant, if you start building a strong wall, saying, "I learned enough Divine Principle, don't tell me any more," at that very moment your growth is stopped. So if you really learn Divine Principle, if you really learn True Parents, every day and every morning you come to the realization of how inadequate you really are. That is good thinking. How unworthy you are. How far away from understanding the True Parents. So you humbly accept more knowledge like a hungry child. Then your growth will be infinite. You can go on.
So, in speaking of Ph.D.s, there are even Ph.D.s from Harvard who think very humbly. By the way, there is one important Harvard Ph.D. who is now attending a three-day workshop in Boston. Not only one but two Ph.D.s. One of them is Harvey Cox, one of the giant theologians of the world. He is at the pinnacle of success in the world of theology. He is a professor at Harvard Divinity School and the author of many important books. But once the Divine Principle touched him, he felt something very strange. Something his own understanding could not perceive. Something greater than his knowledge. And he was intrigued by it. However, the great aspect of the personality of Harvey Cox is his humility. He has a very humble character. That is why he is open. He said he wanted to attend a workshop, so last Friday night at 6:00 he came to our Boston center for a workshop. He came just like you, without a tie, wearing a humble jacket, and, more amazingly, with a sleeping bag.
He said, I don't need any special treatment. I don't need any special chair. Just treat me as one of your students. I am willing to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag. I will get up at the same time. If you get up at 3:30, I will get up at 3:30. If you run for morning exercise, I will run with you. I will eat the humble meal or whatever you serve, I will enjoy that. And if you make me fast, I will fast too. I want to be a Moonie. We said to him, well, you can start out a Moonie, but we want you to end up as a Sunnie.
Dr. Cox thinks the Divine Principle is a broad and revolutionary concept in theology. It is like an atomic bomb in the theological world. He wanted to set up a special course at Harvard University to teach the Divine Principle.
So a person like Harvey Cox knows the value and magnitude of the Divine Principle, how great it is. We just eat it up and receive it, not really knowing how delicious it is. We are all like that. But a person like Harvey Cox enjoys the taste of the Divine Principle. So Aidan Barry, the director of Massachusetts, is teaching all three days. He said, "I just enrolled as a student at Harvard Divinity School, and Harvey Cox was supposed to lecture to me. Now here I am standing in front of the professor and I am lecturing him. What a strange work of God." But he was a little bit nervous. And I told him, this is not you. It is not your knowledge you are going to supply to him. You are merely being used as the instrument. God is lecturing. Actually, Father is lecturing him. So when you think of that, you have nothing to be nervous about. "Yes," he said, "I feel better already."
That is really true. Divine Principle is not a theory. You are not teaching anybody. Don't ever think, I am teaching professors. Don't think, I am teaching that minister. You are wrong. You are arrogant there. All you are doing is bringing witness to the people. Witness to Divine Principle. There is one important minister who used to be a member of the Cabinet of the Republic of Korea. He came to visit and he was staying with us for several days to learn about the Divine Principle and he got to meet Father. He was so intrigued. This minister said, "I must learn the Principle." He arranged to attend our special Los Angeles Korean leaders seminar conducted by Reverend Kwak, as a student, just like anybody else. A minister and cabinet member sits there just like anybody else.
At the last meeting in Boston, the Japanese leaders reported another astonishing thing. Japan is a thriving and booming country today. In terms of money, in terms of wealth, Japan has everything. But the more they acquire materially, the more they feel that they are lacking something vital, something important. There is no spiritual vitality, no vision, no feeling of service.
One high-level Japanese industrialist began searching for answers and came to the conclusion that the only possible answer is the Divine Principle of the Unification Church. He requested that the Unification Church provide a special seminar that he organized in his own facility. Our lecturers gave a solid three-day seminar. They were Ph.D.s, learned people, and good Christians. They were not used to being lectured to; they always tell other people what to do. But within 30 minutes they found the message pouring upon them so refreshing, so logical, and so beautiful that their hearts were filled quickly. They automatically pulled out their notebooks and started writing. By the end of three days they completely filled about three notebooks.
One of the most important men in the group commented at the end of the session, "By God, knowing that Reverend Moon comes from Korea and that Korea and Japan, even though geographically we are very close, we had a difficult time for at least 36 years." One man confessed, "I heard the Korean people are very, very ingenious and they have a brilliant mind, but I didn't know the Korean people are this good." In other words, he was speaking of Reverend Moon. "I didn't know this gigantic genius can come out of Korea. I thought he was Japanese," he said. It doesn't matter, because it is not the Korean Divine Principle. That is what he misunderstood. It is God's Divine Principle. But God's Divine Principle was manifested through Korea in the person of Reverend Moon. It all it belongs to Korea, Japan, to you, to everybody.
When these people heard the power of the Divine Principle-these people who know the world, have a lot of knowledge, and know theology-their reaction was absolutely fantastic. They are going to organize a second seminar and a third seminar. They now feel that there is some purpose for the thriving economy of Japan. They want to pioneer the way. The weight and power of the Japanese economy can be used to help erect the kingdom of God here on earth.
The Source of Life
Now it is your job and our job. We are going to have the same kind of Divine Principle seminar here in our country and invite Henry Ford. Invite the chairman of the board of the Rockefeller Foundation. Why not? Particularly I would like to see the day that the Washington Post and the New York Times publishers come to our seminars. Why not? With our power alone it is impossible, but with the power of God and the Divine Principle, it is more than possible and can be done. Because the important thing is, the Principle is not just knowledge, it is the source of life. There is no limit in the power of God, so don't limit yourself. Even a person like Harvey Cox comes to the Unification Church as a private or a freshman.
Since a few brothers and sisters have given their testimony, I would like to take a few moments to give my testimony. I am not sure my testimony will be as interesting as Jim's and our sister's. I feel very, very strange when I look back on my life. I came into the movement 20 years ago, at about the age of 28. A sister came to me and said that I had talked about being past my prime when I was 36. She said that she is now 36, and I make her feel very old. I said, I am sorry, I didn't mean that. I feel like I am still at the pinnacle of Unification Church life and this is the time I can fulfill more than any other. But what I said at that time was, when I look back, 10 or 15 years ago, I realize that if I had suffered more, if I had shared more with brothers and sisters, if I had had more knowledge of Divine Principle and knew Father better, then I would have worked more boldly and accumulated more wonderful things to share with you today. That is what I am saying.
So I urge you to take the experience of your elders, your seniors, and put it to work in your life. So that now while you are in your youth, you can accumulate more knowledge and power and experiences and dramatic accomplishments. Then when you are 50 or 60, you can share with your children and with all those who are going to follow after us.
I wish I had greater things to tell you about my life, but I don't. However, I would like to humbly share several important aspects of my testimony as a manifestation of the power of God and the power of the Divine Principle. Since I am 48, if I really give you my entire testimony in detail, it would take about 48 years, or 48 hours at the bare minimum. I certainly do not intend to do that. In the next 48 minutes, however, somehow I would like to bring out the highlights.
God Preserved My Life
The number one thing I feel about my life, is that, long before I knew the Divine Principle, some strange power, I must say, the power of God, preserved my life. I could have been dead for a long, long time. My honest feeling is, my life is not my life. It does not belong to me. I will tell you more about it.
Second, I feel that far before I knew the Divine Principle, God already had some plan and schedule to bring me to become an interpreter for our Father. The way I learned English is very, very strange. You will be astonished. It happened in an abnormal way. I was in a position that made it virtually impossible to learn English. But somehow a strange power pushed me into learning English before I discovered the Divine Principle.
There are elders in Korea who came to the Unification Church earlier than me. Sometimes I have wished that I had been among those who were with Father in North Korea, who suffered with him, and were in prison with him. How wonderful if I could say, "I was there with Father." But this is a very greedy feeling and I repent. Now I have realized that God had a purpose in having me come to the movement in 1957 and not before. If I had come into the movement any earlier than 1957, I would not be an interpreter for Father because I would have not studied the English language enough to translate for Father. Prior to being introduced to the Divine Principle, my entire heart and soul was with English study. My ambition was to become a great military leader of the Republic of Korea.
In order to do that, I determined to learn English, not for the sake of God but for the mundane, worldly purpose.
My ambition as a young man was to become a general. That was my real ambition. To do that, learning the English language was essential. So I gave my entire self to the study of English on a 24-hour basis. But as soon as Divine Principle hit me, then my ambition was totally changed. Prior to that I was looking forward to putting a star on my shoulders. One-star general, two-star general, boy, three-star general, maybe even four-star general. Why not? Maybe someday I would be a five-star general like General MacArthur. That was my only ambition.
But as soon as the Divine Principle came into me, being a five-star general looked like peanuts; it was just nothing compared to serving God on the eternal basis. At that time, I didn't know that someday Father would go to America to make Day of Hope tours and set up our international headquarters in America and preach the gospel all over the world from the American base. I certainly did not have the kind of vision to see Father's plan. I only saw the Divine Principle. I only saw Father in Korea. As soon as the Divine Principle came into me, my ambition to learn English was totally gone. I dropped English dead on the floor. I never even looked at the English book. I only picked up the Divine Principle book.
Within two months of beginning to study the Divine Principle, I became a lecturer of the Divine Principle in Korea. I was still a major serving in the military. During the day I served in the army, and in the evening I would work in the area Father assigned me. I was lecturing every night. At that time my other ambition was to proclaim the truth in a large mass meeting. I wanted to become an evangelist. I really wanted to speak like a Billy Graham in Korea. I wanted to speak to all the Korean people. That was my ambition.
Father gave me several opportunities before I came to America. I spoke at a gigantic auditorium, and I proclaimed the Divine Principle and testified about Father. But the most important person in the entire auditorium was Father himself. I lectured to Father himself. That was a great, great privilege. That is the skeleton testimony I wanted to give you.
America Was a Dream
Even though I said that my hometown is Seoul, Korea, I was not born in Seoul. Borrowing Mr. Sudo's language, I was really a Korean "country pumpkin." Even though my home had a very beautiful, noble ancestral heritage, my home was never rich. I entered elementary school and did a pretty good job. I brought my father and mother great joy by doing good school work. But it was a country school about 100 miles south of Seoul in Chung Nam Province. At that time, I heard about America, but America to me at that young age in elementary school was further away than even the sun or moon. America was the country of some dream. I never imagined that I would go to America. Even Seoul was far away to me.
When I graduated from elementary school in the sixth grade, the class made a special trip to have a tour of Seoul. This was a dream come true. So at the age of 12 I went to Seoul for three days. I was so fearful of getting lost that I followed the teacher's instructions and stayed with the group every minute. The astonishing city of Seoul touched this young boy's heart.
At that time we were under Japanese occupation, so I was speaking and learning Japanese in school. I thank God that today I can speak three languages: Korean, Japanese, and English. In those days I spoke better Japanese than Korean because that was the primary language we were educated in. We spoke it almost 24 hours a day. The last time the global IOWC team went to Japan I was able to deliver the Divine Principle sermon in Japan. Think of it, 15,000 Japanese people gathered in Budokon in Tokyo. I was there the one night Father spoke. The second night I had the mission to speak. So I delivered the sermon in Japanese to 15,000 people in 14 different cities in Japan. I did a pretty good job though, and I thank God I was educated in Japanese so I was able to do that.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the time came to move into middle school. Unlike in America, where going to junior high and high school is taken for granted, in Korea that isn't the case. You have to pay tuition to attend middle school and high school. My family was not rich enough to pay for my middle school and high school. Even though I had a pretty good record in elementary school, I couldn't go to an important middle school or high school in Seoul or another major city. But my uncle knew my intellect or talent, and he paid my tuition for three years at the local agricultural school. I learned to become a farmer. This is why I know how to raise pigs, chicken, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Also, in those days I learned to do menial work with joy. I didn't mind working with the soil and digging in the field. That was my joy. After that three years, I talked to my father and mother. They wanted to send me to higher education, but they were not able to do that. I told them, don't worry about me, I have enough education. I want to be your good son and become a farmer just like you are. I will be a very prosperous farmer in this community. So don't worry about my higher education. I made up my mind to become a good farmer and serve my father and mother well for their old age. I had learned farming, and I farmed very ambitiously. I raised chickens and hogs and plowed the fields. At that time in Korea, human waste was good fertilizer, so I went to the elementary school and they give me human waste for my fields. I carried it on my back. It was very smelly, but I thought of its purpose, so to me it was a sweet fragrance. I would think, this manure is precious for my farming. So I was ready to become a young farmer, working very hard morning to night.
Then the liberation came in 1945. The Japanese government was removed from Korea. We set up our provisional government under the supervision of the United States Army. There was a great deal of turmoil and confusion. All the Japanese schoolteachers went back to Japan. One day the school came to me and asked if I could teach in the school because there was a lack of teachers. Since the school was in my local community, I said I would be most happy to. So I became a schoolteacher at the age of 17.
The Shy, Unexpected Teacher
In that country elementary school, some of the students were older than 17. The teacher was a young boy, and the classes had some very big boys and young ladies. The first day I went into the class and tried to teach, this shy boy teacher didn't even have the courage to look at the girls' side. I only looked at the boys' side. It felt so strange that those girls were listening to me. However, I really enjoyed the three years of my teaching and considered it my sacred duty. I became very popular among the students.
I wanted to be a farmer as well as a teacher; that was my ambition. Then when I was 21, all of a sudden, the government knew that they needed the Republic of Korea Army, so they installed a draft system, drafting people into army service. I was among the first group to be given a physical examination. I was a good farmer and I had a good, healthy, young body, so they hit me on the back, and just like that, they said, "You pass. You are now a private in the Republic of Korea army."
Then a totally different image came to me. Now that I have become a soldier, I cannot be a farmer any more; I cannot teach school anymore. So a different ambition came. If I have to go in the army anyway, why can't I be an officer? Why can't I be a leader in the Korean Army? I learned that a West Point-type military academy was being erected, and I fervently wished to go there. But my school background was not good enough. I needed at least six years of high school to quality for the military academy, but I submitted my application anyway. So this country bumpkin visited Seoul for the second time in my life to take the entrance exam. I didn't have money to pay for a hotel, so I brought a little rice with me and visited my friend's home and give my rice to them. Can you cook my meals for three days while I'm here to take an exam?
On the first day I was supposed to submit an application. That was a very crucial moment. I knew my application was not good enough to be accepted. I was pushing myself to the limit. When I looked at all the other applicants in the long line, I saw they were the best-looking high school boys wearing their school uniforms. They were from the best high schools in Seoul. They were outstanding, cosmopolitan Seoul boys, and here I was, a country bumpkin, standing among them looking very, very shabby and miserable. I looked at myself, wearing my home-made suit and very cheap shoes, with a very pale face, standing among the elite of the high school graduates of Seoul.
I waited my turn to submit my application, and finally I came to the sergeant. "Sir, here is my application." He examined it and said, "It is not accepted. You are not qualified to take the exam. Your school record is missing." "I know, sir, but can you give me a chance to just take the exam?" The sergeant said, "No. There is no exception. Next!" He shoved my application back at me and called for the next person. I didn't know what to do. I felt so despondent and discouraged. I thought about it a few minutes. I had no God to pray to. I didn't have God at that time. I was not a Christian. I didn't go to church, My mother was very close to Buddha, but I didn't know how to pray to Buddha. My Father was a very good scholar of Confucius, but I didn't know how to pray to Confucius. I just didn't know what to do. But this young man at least had some guts and will at that time, and instead of going back home I went to the back of the line, all the way to the end, and waited for another turn.
I waited and waited. The line was very long. A couple of hours later, I got to the front of the line and stood before the same sergeant. He recognized me and said, "What are you doing here? I told you that you are not qualified. Why are you making my life miserable? Get out of here. Shoo!" Again I just didn't know what to do. I was pushed out of the line. Many more people were waiting to submit their applications. I was going to have to go back home and be a private in the army. But then, even though I didn't know the Principle of formation, growth, and perfection, something told me: don't give up.
I went back and stood in the line once more. Another couple of hours passed. Then I was in front of the sergeant again. This time I was ready to fight. This time I knew what to do. "Here is my application, sir." The sergeant was so mad. He stood up and grabbed my application and said, "Are you kidding me?" I said, "Sir, all I am asking is to be given one chance to take the exam. I came all the way from Chung Nam just to take the exam. If you reject me, I am not going to go back. I am going to throw myself in the Han River. You are going to read about me in the newspapers."
Give Him a Chance
This man was so upset. He was yelling like crazy, so loud that an officer came over and said, "What happened? What is going on here?" The sergeant reported to the officer, "This guy has been bothering me all day long. This is the third time he has come, and I keep telling him he's not qualified and to go back home." The officer said, "Let me see his application. You're right, he's not qualified." This was a really critical moment. God was really working in that moment. "He is going to flunk anyway, but let him take the exam. Don't make him throw himself in the Han River." The sergeant was amazed.
That officer changed my entire destiny in that moment. My application was accepted, and the next morning I came for the exam, which lasted for eight hours on eight different subjects. The first subject was English. I had never even heard any English at that time. Under the Japanese occupation there were no English lessons in middle school. I picked up the test paper, and I didn't even know which way to read it, which way was right side up or upside down.
My heart was aching. I was desperate to get into the military academy, but here I was in the first hour of the exam and I could not even write one word. Tears were running down my face. But I had to do something. I couldn't just sit there. I decided to do something crazy. So I turned the paper over and started to write a petition in Korean. I wrote explaining that I had not been fortunate enough to study in a good school, and I had not had a chance to learn even basic English. I promised that if I was accepted I would work IO times, 100 times harder in every subject. I hoped someone would understand my sincerity, my earnestness, my real ambition to learn. I knew that it was impossible. Nobody would trust my word.
When the supervising officer came around, I hid my paper so he wouldn't see that I was not writing in English. I was afraid they might stop me. When he passed by, I kept writing in Korean. When the time was up, I held my paper so no one could see it and put it into the middle of the pile of papers. I didn't have the courage to put it on top.
The tests in the next hours were on Korean language, history, and geography. All these things, as a school teacher, I had taught myself very well. I wrote very well. But the mathematics test was on higher math, like algebra and geometry. I couldn't do very well. But, amazingly, the night before, my former classmate, who was a Seoul University student, had taught me several math formulas. He had said, memorize these, they may be useful. So I did. Then on the test, 50 percent of the problems were on the very things I learned the night before. At least I wouldn't get a zero in mathematics.
When I finished, I thought I did pretty well in Korean and history and geography, but I got a zero in English, maybe 50 points in math, and in chemistry I didn't do well. But overall I knew that I had not passed, especially since I could not compete with the Seoul high school students. I was despondent. I knew that I would not be accepted.
So I went back to the country and just tried to forget about it. It was not my fortune to enter the military academy. But about two weeks later a letter came. The letter, which had an official seal, said that I had been admitted to the first class of the military academy of the Republic of Korea. I cried. I really cried. On June 1 all the elementary students came to the station to say goodbye, waving flags. "My teacher has now become an officer in the Republic of Korea Army. How wonderful it is." I had a most wonderful sendoff.
When I arrived at the military academy, the first announcement was they were giving another exam. Boy, examinations made me absolutely crazy. I felt if I fail in this final minute and am not accepted, I certainly cannot go back to my hometown. I cannot say to my students, I flunked the exam and I came back. I couldn't say that. I simply couldn't say that. I determined that I would throw myself in the Han River. I would rather die. That was very serious. Somehow I passed.
On the first day, all of the new cadets got crewcuts to make a new determination. We received our military uniforms and were enrolled in the military academy -- the West Point of Korea.
From the Classroom to the Frontline
That is the way my military life started. But that was only for a brief time. On June 25 the Korean War came. On that day, we cadets were already in the war. We hadn't learned how to shoot a machine gun, but we were under machine gun fire from the enemy, North Korea. In the first three days, two-thirds of my classmates died in combat. A little over 100 survived. They took us to the rear area for a quick training of eight weeks. We originally were supposed to attend school for four years before we got our commissions, but because of the war we were commissioned as second lieutenants after only eight weeks of training. We went back into the battlefield and became platoon leaders. Many more died.
I was a platoon leader and then a company commander. I saw many people die. My classmates, my sergeants, my privates, my men were dying all over. I learned the seriousness of life and death in that early age, the age of 21 and 22. About a year later, 150 officers were selected to go to America to study military tactics and become instructors in the Korean Infantry School.
When I came to America in 1952, I realized that God had blessed this country. I developed tremendous respect for the American people and the American culture, because I saw that God was working so strongly in this country. I could see His abundant blessing. I knew I would be going back to the combat zone. I thought this was certainly my first and last opportunity to see America. You can imagine how I felt. A man who didn't speak one word of English was lucky enough to come to America for six months of training before going back to the war. How could I imagine that I would someday come back to America?
I wanted to see Washington and New York because I heard about those two cities. It was a dream world for me at that time. As trainees, we didn't have any vacation. The schedule was too tight. But we had three days off around the Fourth of July. I found four bold officers from among the 150 who wanted to visit Washington and New York in three days. Of course, we didn't have money to fly. Today it is easy to fly to New York and back in three days. So we went to Columbus, Georgia, and found a taxi. We didn't speak much English. The cab driver asked us where we wanted to go. We said, "Washington, D.C." That taxi driver was completely flabbergasted. Washington? Yes, Washington. How much, we asked.
The Longest Taxi Ride
I am glad we couldn't understand anything he was grumbling. Washington by taxi? It is just impossible, impossible. I repeated, Washington, how much? He kept shaking his head. Then I showed him our money. When he saw the money, well, he started to change. $250. All right. We gave him the $250. That is how we set the record for the longest taxi ride in American history, from Columbus, Georgia, to Washington, D.C.
Now, with the IOWC spirit, a trip like that is no problem. But it was a 16-hour taxi ride. After ten hours the taxi driver started dozing-boy! The car started to swerve, going this way and that way. We five officers decided we had to do something or, instead of getting killed in the Korean combat zone, we would be victims of the U.S. highway. So we took turns and did surveillance on the taxi driver. We would face the driver and constantly supply him with cigarettes and coffee to keep him awake. I am sure he drank about five gallons of coffee that day and smoked about 10 packs of cigarettes.
When we got to Washington, D.C., the first place we visited was the Washington Monument. It is very meaningful that even before I met Father I came to Washington Monument. But certainly I didn't have any idea that someday I would translate into English Reverend Sun Myung Moon's message at the Washington Monument. I had absolutely no idea.
At that time all the English I knew was "good morning," "how much," and "thank you."
Besides the Monument, what I remember about Washington is the Capitol. Our guide explained many things about the building, which is very impressive, but what touched me the most was the little prayer room. I wrote about it later in "My Tribute to America." You may not have known that there is a prayer room in the Capitol. It is a small dark room with a stained glass window that shows George Washington kneeling down in Valley Forge praying to God and asking for His help. Our friend from the Korean embassy explained that the senators and congressmen come there to pray when they have an important decision to make. That touched me. I saw the greatness of America right there. I saw the reason that God is blessing this country. In later years I made the same visit with True Parents and I explained that to Father. We went into that small prayer room, and Father prayed there.
Then we went to New York. We didn't take the taxi because the driver had to sleep. Otherwise we would definitely die on the road. So we let him sleep in Washington while we went to New York. We visited the Empire State Building and several other places, Columbia University and the Brooklyn Bridge and so forth. New York to me at that time was a city of wonder. I was sure I would never be blessed with a second chance to visit there. I felt that I had seen America. When I saw the Statue of Liberty, I saw America. I could go back to my people and tell them about America, about New York and Washington. When I went back to the combat zone, I could be killed, but so what? I had seen America.
We went back to Washington and met up with the taxi driver for another 16-hour drive. This time we were better prepared. We had gallons of coffee and boxes of cigarettes and kept feeding this taxi driver and drove for 16 hours and got back to Columbus, Georgia, after three days. Later I heard that the taxi driver said, "Boy, I met five crazy Korean officers and I lost 16 pounds on the three-day trip."
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