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 didn’t have any photos of them or names. What I did not realize
was that Mrs. Rue [Director of the orphanage where all Manassas children
were taken] 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 Children’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.
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
Photo of Eddie Cho taken in November of 1952 by George F. Drake