For Koreans, a Joyous Reunion 60 Years in Making

After seeing brother, man would 'have no regrets if I were to die tomorrow'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 7:28 AM CST
South Korean Park Yang-gon, left, and his North Korean brother Park Yang Soo get emotional at Diamond Mountain resort in North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.   (AP Photo/Korea Pool, Park Hae-soo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Some 82 elderly South Koreans, in their Sunday best, traveled by bus into North Korea today where they met with relatives they hadn't seen in 60 years, and—at an average age of 84—likely will never see again, the Washington Post reports. The event marked the start of a six-day family reunion between the two Koreas, the first since 2010. It almost didn't happen—North Korea threatened to pull out a day after the reunions were announced—but talks last week seem to have calmed concerns, allowing fathers to reunite with daughters, and brothers and sisters to exchange small gifts of clothing, medicine, and food, after having no communication since the Korean War, the BBC notes.

The South Korean participants, who gathered along with 58 other family members, were chosen by computer-generated lottery from a waiting list of more than 70,000, but some were lucky to make it at all. Many were in wheelchairs and one 91-year-old man was so frail, he came in an ambulance. Upon seeing their relatives—180 North Koreans attended, according to reports—some fell to the ground and cried, others held hands and told family stories over old photographs. "It's hard for people to understand what it's like when you've been separated so long," a South Korean man told the BBC before he left. "All that was missing in my life was my brother, and now that I can see him again, I'd have no regrets whatsoever if I were to die tomorrow."

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |