For the Life
Note and Disclaimer: I have not explored Death in a while, so why not? Always said, I never owned M*A*S*H and never will. Enjoy!
Some days, I have to run down another aisle and remember that the Korean War was about civilians as well as military personnel. There are so many aspects of the war, I cannot always count them all. This one always makes me sad though and it all began in the north.
Ho-Jon was his name and life was his game. He was born in a village in the north, date unknown. He and his family were stuck in an unusual time. The Japanese had control over Korea. His grandparents and parents were alive when the Korean Empire collapsed and what they knew and loved was destroyed.
Ho-Jon grew up, aware of the struggles his country suffered, but he held onto one thing: life. It was all he had because it gave him excitement, daring and fun and there were ways to make it better. If he could survive and avoid death, somehow get his family through hard times, it will be all right in the end. If they did not have clothes, shelter or food, he'd use the skills he learned to obtain them. It was not hard. Nobody noticed a skinny child in the markets.
Everything changed when the Japanese were defeated. Afterward, Korea was independent, but it split into two different governments and countries. Ho-Jon's family knew that they will not survive the northern regime. They slipped over the borders before they closed and headed south. It did not mean that their troubles ended. It was only the beginning.
War soon followed. Quickly, the family tried to reach Pusan, but it was not possible. Between the long lines, the pathways cut off, Communist spies and the Allied soldiers killing Korean civilians, they were lost. However, Ho-Jon was in luck. He knew that he and his family had to live and easily found a M*A*S*H unit to attach himself to. They traveled with the 4077th.
Ho-Jon became a house boy for a tent of doctors. His mother and older sisters did the nurses' laundry. His oldest brother used his youngest sisters, to sell to other soldiers as moose. It was not an ideal life, but he tolerated it. He was able to make money and, for the first time in years, see his family prosper. It was what he strived for and he loved every moment of it.
There was at time that Ho-Jon thought that he could relocate his family. Pusan was still in his sights, but America was a better idea. Ho-Jon tried persuading his brother that they needed to leave the country. He was told to mind his own business because he was not the head of the family. They had a good life with the Americans and his brother wanted to take advantage of it.
Life for Ho-Jon did change though. His friends at the M*A*S*H raised money…to get Ho-Jon and just him alone to go to America. He was ecstatic. It was the life he longed for. It didn't matter that he was being sent to a medical school. It was a living and it was one that would benefit others. Life was never better and he embraced it.
There were some hurdles. While he alone was going to America, he still had to care for his family. He stole some items from the 4077th to raise some money for his family and was eventually caught and given some help anyway. He helped his younger sisters escape their captors and managed to get them to convent schools. His older sisters were found husbands and went south.
Just as suddenly as the money was raised and his friends at the 4077th forgave him, things went downhill. Ho-Jon had to run through a lot of red tape to go to America and it was taking a long time to leave. Before he received permission to immigrate, he was grabbed…by the Republic of Korea. The Army was reforming and were snatching up as many young men as they could. Ho-Jon was just another body.
But Ho-Jon continued to hold onto his life and his good deeds as the best support. Throughout training, he thought back to all of the best life offered him. It managed to help him through the torture of military life and got him to the field. Even then, he had to cling onto that anchor because there was no life. Death was around him.
Life had to bring him through the destruction. Life had to bring him back to his friends at the 4077th. Life just had to bring him to America. Ho-Jon just had to hold onto for a little bit more. The misunderstanding will be discovered and he'd be on his way to Maine. There was no way he was staying in the Army!
His images of a new life continued to bring Ho-Jon some hope. It was not going to last too long though. He understood that life always ended. Everyone died. He just did not think it would come for him, sooner rather than later. Luckily, it was quick. He was in a foxhole with the other men when a mortar round made its way to the target…and hit him and the others. There were no survivors.
I am Death though…and there is always a way to me. Ho-Jon did not have a life after the war. He longed for it and it was denied to him. He felt life to be his anchor and attempted to make it filled with hope and love. But I see that he found death to be a release from his earthy cares. There is a new life there.