U.S. veteran, S. Korean woman reunited

April 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, April 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. veteran of the Korean War was reunited with a woman he helped during the war after not seeing each other for nearly 60 years, officials said.

Retired U.S. airman Richard Cadwallader, 81, and Kim Yeon-soon, 72, were reunited for the first time since the war at a hotel in Seoul Monday, Stars and Stripes reported.

The two met in December 1953 when Kim arrived at an army base, where Cadwallader was stationed, with third-degree burns from her chin to her waist. She was burned when a relative accidentally knocked over an oil lamp on her.

Cadwallader was responsible for her follow-up treatment at the base and was able to get her to a hospital for further treatment.

The South Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and Susan Kee, who is working on a book about the personal stories of U.S. Korean War veterans, helped Cadwallader, who said he had always wondered what happened to the girl, track down Kim this year.

On Monday, Cadwallader said: "I can't tell you what a brave young lady this woman was 60 years ago, in terms of recovering from her burns. They were very, very severe."

"She and her mother were two examples of the most courageous people I've ever known, so this is a monumental day for me," he said.

Cadwallader and Kim exchanged gifts; He gave her a watch, to remind her of their time together, and she gave him and his wife Nancy, hanboks, traditional Korean garb.

"I could never have imagined that I would have the opportunity to see him again. I'm very excited and very happy," Kim said through a translator.

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