This past weekend, May 4-5, I returned to Massacre Valley north of Hoengseong. It was this valley and the battle that was fought here in February 1951 which would become the basis for my Korean War novel, War Remains. And it was because of that novel and a friend on Facebook, which brought me back to Massacre Valley (I first visited here in November 2010, right before I completed my novel) to take part in a documentary about the Korean War, this battle, the search for war remains, and my novel.
After I finished teaching on Friday, I took a bus from Daejeon to Wonju. I left at 2:27 and didn’t get to Wonju until after 5:00. There I met the producer/director of the documentary, Park Jong-woo who I met through one of my Facebook friends. Actually, Mr. Park had already heard about me and my novel through another friend, an American Daniel Morris, who also heard about my book and bought it. Turns out he served with the US Army in Korea and when he got out, decided to stay here and teach. Mr. Park, who was making another documentary about the Korean War decided that he wanted to use me, to talk about the battle in the documentary.
After we met, we went to Hoengseong where he introduced me to his crew. We met in the parking lot of a Methodist Church that was there during the Korean War; during the battle, the commander of the Netherlands’ Battalion, Colonel den Ouden was mortally wounded by a grenade. His men didn’t have any means to carry his body back to an aid station, so they removed the door from this church to carry their Colonel’s body.
After dinner in a local restaurant, where we tried out some of Hoengseong’s famous beef, we turned in early. We wanted to start filming at 7:00am.
The picture you see here is the original road from Hoengseong to Changbong-ni. This is facing north toward Changbong-ni. Back in 1951, this road was narrower and unpaved. This is also the beginning of Massacre Valley.
War Remains, A Korean War Novel The new edition includes a foreword and afterword by the author.