October 29, 2010 Chosun Daily/I have terminal cancer… I wish to be buried with my comrades..
- Date2012-02-13 14:46:06
I have terminal cancer… I wish to be buried with my comrades..
“My doctor tried to stop me from traveling to Korea, but I came here anyway. I’m sad if this trip is my last one to Korea.”
Mr. James Grundy(79), whom I met at a hotel in Seoul on 17th December, was suffering from his swollen thigh. He held a morphine injection in his hand and gave himself a shot of morphine whenever he felt pain. He said that the back cancer which had been expected to heal completely had spread to a malignant lymphoma earlier this year.
He is a Korean War veteran who joined the UK army at the age of 18 and served as the “body treatment team” and buried bodies of his comrades at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea during the War from February 1951 to June 1953. There are 2,300 fallen including 885 UK fallen at the UN Cemetery. Even now he breaks into a cold sweat when he has nightmares about the War. “I saw a child shivering cold under a charred wood by the bombing at Daegu and I found her body frozen to death the next day. The traces of tears on her face still live in my memory.”
He has visited the UNMCK located in Daeyon-dong, Busan to see his comrades who rest in the Cemetery ever since he came here with the UK Korean War Veterans in 1988. He loves Korea and keeps coming to Korea because Korean people are so kind. Now he feels that Korea is his second home country. His brothers and sisters have already passed away and his died childless 2 years ago.
However, he has an adopted granddaughter in Korea. The reason he came to Korea this time even though he is seriously sick, is to attend his granddaughter’s wedding which was held in Busan on the 11th of December. Ms. Eun-jung PARK(35) who works for the UNMCK is his adopted granddaughter. She got close to Mr. Grundy, who visited the Cemetery every year, since she had a cup of tea with him 7 years ago. She invited him to her place to have dinner with her family some years ago.
Mr. Grundy said “Ms. Park had no father and no grandfather, so I asked her to call me grandfather.” He has a letter, when he travels to Korea, written ‘In case there’s any trouble, Ms. Park will take care of my stuff and the funeral.’ He adopted her legally earlier this year.
Ms. Park said “My Grandfather always says that he wishes to rest besides his comrades. He asked me to bury him on the island in a pond of the Cemetery. I cried when he asked me to say hello every morning and good bye every night.” Mr. Grundy named her husband “Robert” which is the name given to a boy every 10th generation in his family.
Mr. Grundy has a special love for Korea and a lot of concern for the recent Korean security situation. He said that it was too late for the reaction of the Korean government for the NK attacks on the Chunahn Fleet and Yeonpyung-do. He said “The Korean government should’ve done military reaction right after the attacks. It seemed that the government was uncertain what to do.”
He said that he had a last wish. “My granddaughter’s birthday is in May. I hope that I can come again next May to celebrate her first birthday after her wedding.”