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My Hero is Tong Ye Yi



Joined: 9/27/2010
Posts: 1
kdoherty
Using skin weathered by time, eyes clouded by suffering, and a heart filled with broken joys, one woman pushed down the rugged road known as life. She is bold with her words but kind with her intentions. My grandmother is the true definition of a survivor and a hero who lived through one of the toughest, misunderstood eras of history, the Korean War.
In a world where a woman’s voice could not be heard, even if she was screaming, few women sought out the opportunity to be heard. The year was 1949 and South Korea was beginning to see the pure horrors of being controlled by the North. My grandmother lived to tell the story of a life wrecked with havoc and the opportunity that was presented to her to help make a difference and ultimately win the war. In the beginning years of the Korean War police officers were euthanized by North Koreans as an attempt to leave citizens without protection. My grandmother’s husband was a member of the police force and went into hiding after hearing the events that could lead to his death.
My grandmother, Tong Ye Yi had just given birth to her first and only daughter at the time. She lived with her parents, two brothers, three sisters and her newborn baby in Jeollabuk-do, where North Koreans attacked them and both her father and brothers were abducted. During the ran-sack, her mother, sisters, and herself were brutally beaten by the assailants as an incentive to tell them where her husband and the other officers were hiding. The following morning after the assailment, her father was brutally tortured and left in a blanket and thrown on their front yard, after he had passed away. Her brothers were also euthanized along with other groups of young men their age in a pit off of the countryside. Consumed with grief, my grandmother, her newborn, her mother, and sisters left Jeollabuk-do and walked through the stiffening cold weather to escape a similar fate. The walk was so torturous that they felt as if they would never make it to a better, peaceful time. Unfortunately the walk was too much for the baby to bear and she passed away within days of the walk to salvation.
After leaving their hometown, the group of women was forced to fend for themselves for several months, wincing at any sign of danger that could be brought to them by the North Koreans. When they heard the news of the North Koreans passing through their town and the arrival of the American saviors, my grandmother set to walk back to their town to find her husband and spread the news. After the war ended, my grandfather become a severe alcoholic and beat my grandmother and left her to raise her four children while he started a new family of his own. Despite the hardships she continued to be strong. Through all the horror and pain, she never gave up and raised her children to be extraordinary.
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