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[CARD NEWS] Miracle of Christmas in 1950

June 16,2017
The first-ever evacuation of North Koreans to the South was in late 1950. People thought the operation would be impossible, but the organizers pulled it off – bringing President Moon Jae-in’s parents to their new home.

1) In December of 1950, the city of Hamhung, South Hamkyoung, which now is North Korean territory, was caught in the middle of the Korean War.

2) The battle got only worse for the United Nations and Korean military, as communist Chinese troops were rushing in.

3) A cold front came in, and the army wasn’t able to fight against the surging communists. Retreating from Hamhung was the only option available. The US military, however, didn’t have enough room to take care of all the Korean refugees.

4) Seeking an alternative method to save the refugees, Gen. Edward M. Almond called out to his civil affairs adviser, Dr. Hyun Bong-hak. By the time, Hyun was 28 years old.

5) Born into a Christian family, Hyun studied in America and served as a translator for Korean navy. Gen. Almond, who observed Hyun’s ability, hired the 28-year-old as his adviser.

6) Gen. Almond ordered Hyun to let the people know the military was withdrawing from the port of Heungnam.
Hyun was running out of time. Shortly after he received his orders, Hyun spread the word throughout the city.

7) Miraculously, around 50,000 people gathered at the port of Heungnam on the very day Hyun broke the news. The story stirred up the city, and a total of 90,000 people congregated a day later.

8) The port of Heungnam, which 100,000 military personnel and 90,000 refugees flooded, was in total chaos.

9) “Please load the refugees longing to go to the South seeking freedom.” - Dr. Hyun Bong-hak
There were only 11 ships available at the port, but Dr. Hyun pleaded to carry the refugees.

10) “If we just leave the people over there, they all would be massacred by the communists’ attack.” - Dr. Hyun Bong-hak
Gen. Almond eventually decided to save the people gathered. He dumped war supplies to make room to accommodate the refugees.

11) The Meredith Victory was the last ship to leave the port. Originally constructed to hold only 59 people, the ship carried 14,000 refugees. It sailed toward the South bringing the refugees who should have been left and hopelessly faced the communists.
The ship later set the record of the “world’s largest evacuation from land by a single ship.”

12) “Among the refugees from the port of Heungnam were my parents and my sister.” - President Moon Jae-in

13) This is how the very first generation of North Korean refugees made it to South Korea. The choice back in 1950 eventually saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

14) The evacuation is also known as the Miracle of Christmas. Behind the miracle, enormous effort and decisions were made to save our people.

Directed by Lee Jeong-bong
Constructed by Cho Seong-jin
Translated by Son Min-young
Edited by James Constant