On Friday 29 September 2017, Winnipeg Emmanuel Korean Church (Pastor Rev. Pyungki Jung, 937 St. Mary Rd. WPG. MB) and The Diversity Times/ The Korea Times (TDT/TKT) collaboratively hosted a lunch event for the Korean War veterans and their families.
Responsibilities for this event were divided amongst the two host parties. The church always showed an interest in the Korean War veterans and they provided the place, food and most of the cost required whilst TDT/TKT, having had constant contact with the veterans, employed their own network and advertising on the newspaper to distribute invitations as well as prepare video and photo footage for the event.
Before the meal, the participants were shown the photo exhibition that TDT/TKT has been working on, as well as a video about receiving peace medals.
The event opened with a guest speaker speech by Chief Jim Bear, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.
He first thanked the hosts for inviting him to this event, and explained that being invited to a Korean event was very interesting. He continued to provide a brief history of the first nation roots and how the single group ended up being split into various smaller ones.
He also spent quality time providing insight into special rituals such as Four Directions and Medicine Wheels as examples of differences in culture and how we should respect each person’s own culture among one another.
He also shared a story about his uncle Sergeant Tommy Prince, who went to Korea twice for the Korean War. He also fought in World War II but when he returned to Canada he was not treated properly by the government just because of his ethnicity.
The second guest speaker was Michael Czuboka who is well known not only to the Korean communities in Winnipeg but to the general public as well. He is one of the 3 Manitoban survivors of the Gapyeong battle. He noted that the invitation was meaningful and he thanked the two hosts for their interest in Korean War veterans.
The Diversity Times editor Eun Kyeong (Olivia) Do informed the crowd that there is a school in Scanterbury named after Tommy: Sergeant Tommy Prince School. She also shared how significant this event is with all the different people attending it, and continued to note that it would be a great opportunity to understand more about Korean War veterans by visiting the Tommy Prince School.
Pastor Rev. Jung of Emmanuel Korean Church was next on stage and greeted “In a few days the Korean Chuseok Hangawi starts, which is just like the Canadian Thanksgiving day”, and shared that “I want to thank everyone with a heart like a bright and round full moon”. He then proceeded to hand out the gifts the Church and volunteers prepared: Hawaiian style candy necklace, a hat inscribed with “Korean War Vets” and both the Canadian and Korean national flags and liquid soap. Pastor Jung and the volunteers were guided by Mr. Song to each and every attendee and thanked them and their families for protecting our home country.
Next up was traditional Korean dancing by Nara Jung and Suhyun Shim who were applauded for their beautiful performance. After the lunch meal the participants viewed a promotional video for the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
One widow who attended the event shed tears when she received the hat, and shared her appreciation saying “I am sure my husband would really like this. When I get home I will place it by my husband’s photo and tell him that I received this gift from the church”.
Also, there was a family who attended in place of their late uncle who died in the Korean War, and they shared that “Our uncle always has a special place in our hearts. We discovered through Mr. Song what kind of work the Koreans in Manitoba have been doing. We are going to take a picture of the gifts today for all of us to keep.”
A wife of a Korean War veteran noted how “I am happy this event was held at a church.”
Mr. Won Jae Song of The Times, who was responsible for contacting and inviting the participants, shared in an interview after the meal that ”Brokenhead is not only a place with connections to Tommy Prince, but it is also a place where the united Korean churches of Winnipeg visit for volunteer work every summer and I invited everyone in hopes of the Koreans having a closer relationship.” and also mentioned about the inviting of Chief Jim Bear that “Many Koreans do not know much about the Aboriginal Korean War veterans, so I wanted this to be an opportunity for Koreans to learn about them.”
The Emmanuel Korean Church took into account the palate of the participants and prepared a large variety of Canadian and Korean cuisine. This jointly hosted event shined from all the effort that Pastor Jung and his wife, the three Junior Pastors and their wives, many church members and the volunteers poured in. (Staff)