The following is an extract from a book called


written by Timothy J. Mulvey

Tony’s Business

It is best to begin with Tony Collier. He was among the very first to know the temper of the enemy we were about to face. Tony had a special sintroort of business. It was a job for which he had been thoroughly trained. He had a particular reason for knowing the people and their language.

When the American forces were pulled out of South Korea under the observation of what the General Assembly now calls a “Commission” (The United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea had already been dissolved), Tony was stationed at Chunchon. Chunchon is a fairly populous town, roughly ten miles south of the 38th parallel. These were early and dangerous days of June when American citizens were oblivious, not only to little towns like Chunchon or Kangnung, but even to peninsulas like Korea. Most American citizens were not aware of the feverish gymnastics that had been going on to settle the internal problems of a split country. The Soviets had slipped in at the end of what these people, out here, called the Pacific War, and they were bargaining down the throat of America. They had already bargained and bullied their way through Manchuria. Many American citizens, the fathers and mothers of the sons who have been waging this war in the Far East, had never known how Chiang Kai-skek was bartered to a standstill by the dilatory tactics of men who dreamed they were in league with a band of simple “agrarian reformers.” They had never been informed, these fathers and mothers how quick and complete was the rape of Manchuria, the plum of the Far East. At the close of World War 11, when the Chinese Nationalists had the military right of entering and occupying Manchuria, they were stopped by Russia. The Nationalist forces with American aid were ready to enter either by land, sea, or air. They were denied entrance. The ports of Dairen, Port Arthur, and Hulutao were quickly sealed with Soviet steel. Overland routes were blocked with the sudden entrenchments of Mao Tse-tung’s “agrarians.” To land by air was to invite the bullets of Communist troops deployed at the outskirts of airports. When the troops of Russia departed Manchuria, it was a fait accompli. Manchuria, the mineral rich, warm water exit to the sea, was in Russia’s orbit. (This is not to deny the right of a great people to open waterways; it is merely the detailing of the blunt and powerful gyrations of a nation that wants land and gets land. Korea was next on the list.)

Tony Collier, now in his late thirties and slightly greying at the temples, has reason to sense the tension in the Korean air. He knew that the officers of KMAG (Korean Military Advisory Group) were on edge over at Kangnung. Once in a while he sat around and listened to them “beefing” about the situation. The guerrillas from the north were beginning to walk the mountaintops in bigger bands. They did not come into villages like Chunchon and Kangnung in the daylight: But during these early June mornings, they were slipping into towns, probing, infiltrating, dispersing among the civilians. They were not content merely to raid; they were getting rice, fowl, and eggs from the farmers by the simple right of demand.

Tony sat awake those nights on his bamboo chair, listening to the frequent siren from the police barracks. It was the often repeated signal, warning all those who could hear that the Reds were again in the neighbourhood. It was getting to be a familiar sound pattern these nights - ten blasts at five second intervals. Even as he sat there listening to the siren, he knew that the men of the eighth Division, South Korean Army, were flexing themselves for the blow that might come out of the dark. Even now, as he stared at the ceiling of his room, he guessed what might be going on at Kangnung Art Mahon would be sitting up late entertaining Major Jerry Larson. They would be laughing; perhaps, a few hands of cards; and surely something to wet one’s whistle. He felt it was a privilege to be able to talk to fellows like Larson, Captain Sheavers, and Captain Hanglein. There would be the same problems tossed back and forth.

“How were things over in Seoul these days?”

“Did it look like things were shaping up for war?”

“If there should be war, what about tanks?”

“Tanks were cumbersome and unwieldly things.”

“What was the value of the tank in this land of twisting, mountainous passes?”

“Was it going to be merely a guerrilla war?”

“Could we equip the Nationalist Army and trust them not to Provoke attack?”

These were the heated and interesting questions that were tossed back and forth across the space of a single room.

Of course, Jerry Lawson was right.

“Sure,” he said. “We need tanks. We need heavy artillery, right now!” Jerry Larson exploded that way. And perhaps Jerry knew what he was talking about. These KMAG men should know. They lived with the South Korean troops, ate with them, worked and suffered with them. And they were not getting any promotions either. Art Mahon used to get steamed up about that.

This was the Korea of the early June days. Was it really a powder keg, or would it end in a fizzle? Tony Collier could never be certain. In the meantime, there were other things to do in Chunchon.

It was getting late that Saturday afternoon when Tony Collier walked down the road. Hundreds of Koreans were milling about in the market place. Some of them stared at his face-the white face of a foreigner. He was not really a stranger to them. He had often mingled with them down here in the market place where bags of charcoal and chunks of timber could be bargained for around the smoldering fire of the hwaro. But the face of any Occidental has always been a curiosity in the streets of the Far East – a fact that is evident in the language of Japan where the adjective “interesting” has its etymological roots in “white face.” This, then, was the reason for the sudden darting of their eyes – the second look – the occasional whisper of neighbour to neighbour, as he passed by.

These streets of Chunchon and the environs were Tony’s world. Down here he had seen the seasons come and go with persimmons, apples, and pears piled high on rice mats. Farmers, dressed in their white turamegi, were moving about as they had always done every market day. There was pride evident in the strut of these fellows as they came into the market.

Ten or twelve eggs, poised in the palm of the hand, or two chickens slung beneath the arm gave them an air of independence – even security. The price of two chickens could be turned into a bottle of gray makkari or potent soju. With a drop even of the weakest wine, a man might forget the government officials who always seemed to be after him. The farmer was levied for taxes, conscripted for the army and public works. Even his own sons had to be farmed out at times. But there was still the fierce patience of his Oriental blood, summed up in the most typical of all Korean phrases, “Gwan chan sun ni da!” “It doesn’t matter.” With those words they weathered war, plague, and pestilence.
Tony threaded his way through the crowd and stopped directly in front of a shop. A small girl was arranging black rubber shoes in pairs along the slanted rack. She looked up at him with sudden puzzlement in her dark eyes. Tony understood the surprise his presence had caused, for was he not a foreigner, a white face, and did he not always walk the roads in the thick leather of the white man’s shoes? And what would this foreigner wish now? Was he really stopping to buy her thin rubber komosins?

She made a small curtsy when she said the words, “Are you at peace?”

Tony always thought this was a specially delightful Korean custom. All manner of salutations and farewells were pivoted on the symbols of peace. It was never “Good night”, but “May you sleep in peace.” It was never “Good morning”, but “Have you slept in peace?” These indeed, were appropriate conventions for a country that is described mistakenly by Westerners as the Land of the Morning Calm.

Tony thought it would be best to get quickly to the business at hand. “What is your name, little one?”

“Han Kwang Ok.”

“And how old are you?”

“I have eaten fourteen years.”

Tony pondered the next question. It might embarrass this young girl. It was a question he could have asked her many times in the past month, for she was always present in the shop, arranging, dusting, sometimes hovering over the charcoal fire in the freezing grey afternoons of winter. During all the months he had been passing the shop, he remembered wondering why he had never met her on the road with school-mates. He asked the question casually. “Have you finished school?”

“A year ago.”

That would be just about right. She was fourteen now.

“And I suppose you are going to the Middle School?”

The embarrassment was evident. Tony had been waiting for it; he had encountered it in just this way so many times before.

“Would you like to go to school?” he asked,

“I would like to go but my father’s money is absent.” Han Kwang Ok spoke in a hushed voice. Then she repeated the words, avoiding his eyes, “I would like to go to school.”

Tony saw or thought he saw the influence that the Japanese had had on these people. It was mirrored in the regimentation of white blouse and blue skirt and the sheer joy of getting out of the field and into the classrooms. And now, long after the Japanese had been forced to get out of Korea, the white blouse and blue skirt had remained. Nor was it only the Japanese who had left their mark. There was the old Confucianist idea that a man could do much with an education. No Oriental, as the saying goes, has ever wiped his nose with a newspaper. The printed word was that esteemed.

There was a noise at the rear of the shop, and at that moment Han Kwang Ok’s father appeared. He bowed and then offered his hand, a gesture that Tony would be sure to appreciate. “You have an intelligent child, Hans Kwang Bog.” “I am grateful. The small thing is just as she is,” the man replied.

Tony noticed the impersonal allusion the man made to his daughter, and he remembered that if the fellow were speaking of his wife, he might have called her his “jib” or his “house.” But there was no absence of affection in it. It was the reserve of the Oriental.

Tony spent the next few minutes discussing Han Kwang Ok. It would be a fine idea to send her to school, say from four-thirty in the afternoon to eight o’clock in the evening. In that way she could still help at the store during the day. His speech was well rehearsed, for he had been doing this sort of thing for years. No, there would be no problem about returning home at eight o’clock. All the boys came home together. All the girls came home together. It was a programme that had already been fairly successful, and the girl would receive the same education that day students in Korea were getting in the best institutions. Who would teach her? Why, the finest and most competent of professors – all Koreans – teachers from the government schools, who had voluntarily offered their time and services to deserving people like little Han Kwang Ok. Surely, he must know the type of teacher who was engaged in this work. Kim Dung Chum was from one of the oldest families in the district. There was Pak Naki also. Kim Oksun was as good a domestic economy professor as you would find in all Korea. About twenty-five of them had already volunteered and were now conducting classes. Language, geography, history, mathematics, and music were some of the subjects a girl could study. And now, what did Han Kwang Bog think of the idea?

The man’s fingers twisted in the folds of his baji. “There is the money which is absent to me. I could not pay the tuition.” Tony assured him this was no worry whatsoever. As for the school uniform – “A cotton dress, dyed black, will do. We can arrange this easily.”

“It will be much trouble to you.”

“Gwan chan sun ni da!” Tony said. “It did not matter.”

The air that Saturday night in June was heavy with soggy ribbons of fog, twisting in the lowlands about Chunchon. It came rising in serpentine folds out of the valleys, creeping around the pots that were stacked under the eaves of houses. Out on the valley floor, the thatched cottages of the townsmen, rising like giant mushrooms, were steeped in the gathering mist.

Tony Collier had no reason to note that this was the night of June 24, 1950. There were other and more intimate details to reckon with – people like Han Kwang Ok, for example, who needed a helping hand. It was quiet now in Chunchon. Gabriel, the houseboy, was tamping some faggots at the rear of the house. Gabriel was efficient. He was faithful. You could trust a fellow like Gabriel – trust him with your life.

Tony Collier yawned. It was time to be turning in. “May you sleep in peace, Gabriel,” he called. “May you sleep in peace,” was the answer from the yard.

Then the siren sounded. There was a mournful wail in it. It was about five o’clock in the morning, June 25, 1950. Tony heard it, stirred in his bed, and sat up. His ears were sifting the night sounds for trouble. It would have been a little less strain on a man if Chunchon were not so near that 38th Parallel.

Outside, when the last echo of the siren had died, the drip-dripping of the rain off the roof could be heard. The fog was up in a solid murky wall against the window of the room. There was nothing unusual in the wind. It was probably the same old story. Somebody was in the vicinity making trouble. Tony settled back and pulled the blankets about him. When he awakened a few hours later, he was among the very first to know that all Korea was clamped in the flaming vice of war.

The loud-speakers in the city of Seoul were proclaiming the news a few hours later. Jeeps darted up and down the broad avenues of the city, summoning officers and men of the National Army. All roads from Seoul were running north in this first feverish reaction to the surprise attack of the so-called “Peoples’ Army.” In a matter of hours, the air between Seoul and Inchon Harbor was throbbing with aircraft serving as protective escorts in the evacuee dash to the sea. American civilians, foreign nationals, and State Department employees had to be pulled out in a hurry. The tides of Inchon soon interfered with this plan and direct airlifts from Kimpo swung into motion.
Within forty-eight hours it appeared to the civilians in Seoul that all this hubbub was at most a tremendous scare. Placards and posters were informing the citizens that there was no reason for alarm. Members of the American Military Mission were at hand, had even toured the battle area, and had expressed the reassuring prediction that the Nationalist Army of South Korea could squelch this nasty business. The skies over Kimpo, meanwhile, were bristling with the twin Mustangs of the 68th All Weather Fighter Squadron. It was comforting to know that the air arm of America was already stretching over the scene, and it was consoling to watch the jubilant, eager faces of the Korean Infantry as they went marching northward to the deafening cheers of the civilian populace.

War had come swiftly and surprisingly to South Korea, but listen, citizens to the news today! Within forty-eight hours the Nationalist Army had stopped the puppet murderers in their tracks. Uijonjbu is on everybody’s lips. “We have stopped them at Uijongbu. We have smashed them at Uijongbu Ten thousand years!”

Tony Collier in Chunchon did not hear the cheers, nor had he any way of knowing about Uijonbu that afternoon. The red tanks had already rumbled through the streets of his town. Chunchon was lost. Any man with a knowledge of terrain would have worried about Uijonbu. It was as clear as the nose on your face. It was in the path and pattern of three lightening thrusts – the leap across the 38th parallel into Chunchon; the river road to Uijonbu: the 10-mile stab to Seoul. The hammer had struck and the sickle was laid for the cutting. Nor did the citizens down in Seoul know too much about Uijonbu that afternoon. Within another twelve hours, the Nationalist Army of the Republic of South Korea was to learn what a costly and terrible thing it is to pit human flesh against the steel of tanks – was to learn that Uijonbu had crumbled like rice paper under an iron sledge. Within those same twelve hours, the high hills surrounding Seoul, which had so lately echoed and re-echoed the delirious cheering of the South Korean patriots, were to catch up another refrain, startlingly different and domineering. The capital city of South Korea was to fall in less than three days. Tony Collier had no way of knowing about all this.

Gabriel, the houseboy, watched Tony closely that afternoon of the 27th. The last two days had been a nightmare. There had been a chance to escape on Sunday afternoon. “Why do you not go?” Gabriel had asked him. “There is still time to reach Seoul, and if you wish I’ll go with you.” Tony had shrugged wearily. “It is not for me to say when I go.” Naturally, Gabriel had known this. He had already accompanied Tony on two trips to see the “boss.” There had been hurried and whispered conferences, and the sure signs of strain had begun to creep over Collier’s face. “But we can go again to see him. It is still not too late to leave Chunchon.” Gabriel suggested.
Tony paced the floor. He looked at his watch. Outside, the sky was overcast, threatening rain. It would be dangerous to walk the roads this time of day. Yet with each passing hour, Chunchon was swelling with North Korean troops. In another day or two they would be swarming the streets, lanes and byways, searching out those who had gone into hiding. It was not an easy decision to make.  “It will be dangerous for you to be seen with me, Gabriel. Perhaps you had better wait here,” suggested Tony.  “If you go, I would like also to go,” the boy said.

So they left. They stepped out of the house shortly after two o’clock. There had been a brief moment of indecision outside. Should they return and pick up blankets, clothing, books? No, it was better to leave everything behind. Anyone detected on the street with bundles would be spotted quickly as a refugee and questioned.

The hill from Tony’s house to the main street in Chunchon is a twisting downward spiral of blue asphalt. That was one of the nice features of Chunchon – blue asphalt in spots, and the air of a little up-and-coming town, smack in the centre of the most forsaken and harassed lands in all Asia It was best to avoid the asphalt this afternoon and keep to the footpaths skirting the hill.
They walked the 200 yards cautiously and with mounting expectation. A man, panting heavily, passed them on the road. He was carrying a trussed pig. The furtive glance of the fellow was enough to tell anyone that war was abroad in Chunchon – and war was claiming a man’s property, his rice, his wheat and even his pig. The man was hauling his pork to safe quarters. Tony greeted him but the farmer was gone in a hurry. A woman (neither Tony nor Gabriel knew her) met them on the road. She had a child she was tugging by the hand. She smiled quickly, and she also was gone.
Then, what they had been expecting during these last forty-eight hours suddenly happened. The voice behind them was loud and harsh. It said, “Dol yoh soh.” Translated it means “Turn around.”

Tony turned quickly and saw two Korean soldiers. One of them was fingering an automatic. The other was brandishing a burp gun. Both of these men were wearing caps that were braided with red. There were arm bands on the sleeves of their mustard-brown jackets. They were North Korean soldiers.

What follows is the conversation as recorded by a witness.

Korean: You… you, who are you?

Tony: My name is Collier.

Korean: Collier? Who are you? You are an American soldier.

Tony: No, I am not an American soldier.

Korean: You are an American spy.

Tony: I am not a spy. I work with Koreans. I live with your people. I am not an American spy.

Korean: (To Gabriel) What is your name? Why do you walk with this foreigner?

Gabriel: I work for him.

Korean: You are an American spy too.

Gabriel: It is not true. We are not working for the military. We do not work for American soldiers. Only for Korea.

Korean: You are a bad bastard. {Gabriel was struck across the face several times at this point}

Korean: You shall come with us. Quick. {They were told to follow their captors. They walked about 300 or 4000 yards and then they were suddenly stopped.}

Korean: I am an officer. Do you not know me?

Gabriel: I do not know you.

Korean: You know. You are lying.

Gabriel: I do not know.

Korean: What work did you do here? If you tell us the truth, we will not kill you.

Gabriel: We have done no bad work. My master, Collier, has not done bad work.

Korean: Did you not hear the story from these Americans that we would cut off your ears and nose?

Gabriel: I have not heard it.

At this point on the road their hands were placed behind them, and their wrists were bound with rice-fiber ropes. To make any escape less likely, they were then tied together with a 3-foot hitch of rope linking them. With the muzzles of the revolver and burp gun prodding their backs, they were ordered to walk towards the post office.

Several trucks and Russian jeeps were parked near the post office. A crowd had gathered and was listening to a speech. It was being interrupted at short intervals by shouts of approval for the “great and liberating force of the People’s Army.” As Collier and Gabriel drew nearer, the crowd parted and fell silent. They were marched to the steps of the post office, and for the first time they saw the speechmaker. He was a short thickset individual, standing in black cavalry boots. Even without this military touch, Gabriel knew he was a superior officer, from the manner in which he addressed the soldier with the burp gun. He was using the “low” form of Korean on this inferior officer.

“Who are these men?” the speechmaker demanded.

“They are enemies of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic,” was the answer.

“You,” pointing to Tony, “what is your business in Korea?”

The crowd hedged in, pressed upon them hungrily attentive and curious as only Orientals can be.

“Tony’s business!”

This was the moment he had feared would come. Not that he was ashamed of explaining his business. The time and circumstances were ripe for such a revelation. In the deepest core of his consciousness he was alive to a promise that had been made to him. He had nothing to fear about what he should think or what he should say “in that hour.” It would have been given to him what to think and what to say “in that hour.” It was rather the moment, not the hour, that he feared – that awful, passion-hot moment in time when he should be called upon to say the thing that would explain nothing. To stand before some tribunal that had the semblance of specific and litigious hate for the beliefs he professed would have been easier. To be tried, tested and even martyred for the things he believed in was a privilege which his faith taught him he should, and “in that hour” would, gladly accept.
But the words of Joe O’Brien had the dull and now desolate ring of truth. “Those fanatics…those mobs…they don’t kill you for believing in God. They kill you for believing in Wall Street. Martyrdom! It’s not martyrdom. It’s bloody murder.” So here they were-the rabble in arms, the restless crowd milling in a sweat, that at any moment might break out into the hysteria and violence of new-founded fanatic loyalties. And there he was, the little man in the black boots, waiting for an answer. This was the stark challenge of the moment, and this was the moment Tony Collier feared.

The crowd was still silent. It was not yet a mob. It was a ring of peering inquisitive faces.

“You, what is your business here in Korea?”

Tony spoke quietly. “I am a priest, and…”

“What is your business in Korea?” the man screamed. “You are in the employ of the American fascists.”

One of the Korean townsmen mounted the post office steps and whispered into the ear of the officer. The officer then shouted, “You work with the American soldiers. You are seen with American soldiers.”

“Yes, I speak with Americans. They are my friends, but I am not part of the American military.”

“You are a liar.”

“I am a priest. I live here in Chunchon. I work among your people. They know me. I am not a soldier. I am not a spy. I have nothing to do with the military.”

The officer turned to the guards and directed them to search Tony. The soldiers emptied Collier’s pockets and carried the contents to the officer. The man scanned for some time the pages of a letter Tony had received. The frown over his eyes was evidence that the English language mystified him.

“You,” he said, pointing to Gabriel, “where are the papers?”

“What papers?”

“The papers of the military.” The speechmaker made a quick sweeping gesture over the crowd. “Everyone here knows that this man is a spy on the Korean people.”

“He is not a spy. He is a shinbuntm.”

The officer in the black boots stuffed Tony’s letter in his pocket. Then he addressed one of the soldiers. “Take them away. You know your duty.” He then walked down the post office steps, moved over to a jeep, and leaned on the radiator. He kept staring at Tony.

It was over as quickly and as simply as that. The dread which Collier had feared had come and gone, and he was suddenly about-face and walking, hitched to Gabriel. All the speechmaking must have finished for the day, because the crowd was now walking with them, scurrying ahead, darting across the road, hemming them in a knot of excited sound.

“Where are we going, Gabriel?” Tony asked.
“I do not know.”

“Perhaps to the jail,” Tony laughed.

The quick and shocking thrust of a gun between his shoulder blades and the loud voice of one of the guards interrupted Tony.

“Tell this foreigner he must not talk,” the soldier said to Gabriel.

Gabriel did not have to relay the word. Tony had understood. They walked through the town in silence, past the open market place, past Han Kwang Ok’s shoe store. She was there as always. She was open-eyed and mystified. Unconsciously she curtsied and Tony spoke the Korean greeting to her, “Are you at peace?”

Whether she answered or not, Gabriel was not sure. The pace was too fast, and the babble of the crowd too loud. The soldiers behind them did not prod Tony when he asked Han Kwang Ok if she were in peace. Perhaps they had not heard Tony’s question. Perhaps they had.

They continued to walk and every step they took added to the crowd One of the soldiers suddenly broke the tension. He asked, “Are you not afraid of our People’s Army?”

Gabriel did not answer. Tony, at this moment, seemed not to hear.

“What do you wish to say for the last time?” one of the soldiers asked.

The last time! Was this to be the last time, Gabriel wondered. It seemed like a farce. Tony Collier was even smiling and confident. It was a peculiar question to be asked in the centre of town, with so much life and so many people around you.

The question was repeated. “What do you wish to say for the last time?”

Gabriel was young – twenty years old. Yet he had come to know what Korea had lived, bled, and cried for. He, at the force of pressures too large for him, had been conscripted in the Japanese Army to do a job he detested. And so he spoke: “I am a Korean and you are a Korean and I hope some day that we shall all be united Koreans.”

“Dol yoh Soh!”It was the sharp command to turn around. The crowd scrambled quickly at this change of procedure. It appeared for a moment that the farce was over. They would probably unleash the rope and send them home. Tony looked up the street and saw the hill that rimmed his house. It would be good to get back, to get out of the rain that was now beginning to fall. And it was an inspired bit of speech that Gabriel had made. To see all Korea united! Even these bandits could appreciate that.

Five shots suddenly rang in the air. Five or six quick shots. Gabriel was not sure where the shots came from until he felt a heavy tug that pulled him to the ground. The force of Tony’s falling weight had dragged Gabriel off his feet. Tony Collier was lying flat on his face. Gabriel tried to lift himself in that instant, but all the strength he had in him petered out, “like a candle going out, stopping to give light.” What had checked his first instinctive urge to leap and run for freedom was the weight at his wrists, anchored as he was to Tony, and the voice next to his ear. Tony was saying, “Gabriel…Gabriel, I am sorry. You should not have come with me.”

A burst of sound hammering at his eardrums left Gabriel writhing in the dust of the road. His throat was tingling in red-hot heat. Two more blasts and his hips rolled from side to side. His back was pierced with bullets. The blood was running warm under his chin from the open hole in his throat.

Then there was a curious silence. It came within the next twenty or thirty minutes. It was broken only by Tony’s gurgling. No words were said, and no movement was made. The rain kept falling and the mud was cool against Gabriel’s cheek. It was still in the early hours of the afternoon. After about thirty minutes Tony stopped making the gurgling sound. Gabriel waited. His back was like a flame of pain. He could feel the “heart sound” in his throat.

Sometime near seven o’clock that evening, Gabriel heard a movement. Footsteps were sloshing about in the mud near his head. Then he heard a voice say, “These bastards are dead.” Gabriel winced when he felt the pressure on his back Some-body had thrown two charcoal bags – the heavy hazel sapling kind over them.

Somewhere close to ten o’clock that night, Gabriel awoke.. There was a deathlike stillness about him. He rubbed the fibre rope that bound his wrists against a piece of cement. When he was free, he edged close to Tony. He touched the hair of Tony’s head. Then his face. Tony was cold and dead. When Gabriel got to his feet, he put his fingers around his throat to stop the flow of blood. Then he hurried up into a dark familiar lane.

This is a story of one of your sons. At this moment as I sit here in Japan writing about your sons, I realize how selective and partial an author’s point of view can be. To begin with, I have chosen to write about someone who lived as a priest and was killed as a “fascist” or “capitalist,” He was not the only one to lose his life.

Even while Father Tony Collier was dying, the sentence of death was hanging over Son Yon-won, pastor of the Episcopalian church. Brutality has an insidious way of seeking out first those who are least in line for it. To call this Korean pastor one of your sons may strike you as being a bit too far over the International Date Line. As a matter of fact, Tony Collier, who died in this conflict between North and South Koreans was actually a neutral. He was an Irish Columban who had no part, politically, in what was to become a struggle between East and West. Yet he was your son. And there are many others out here in the Far East who, with skins and languages not noticeably “American,” are fighting with your sons. I have chosen to write about Tony because I knew him and some of his missionary brothers who have since been murdered.

Like many of his comrades, Tony will never be in line for rewards and decorations. The withering blast of the gun that cut him down was a brutal but obscure incident on a side street in Chunchon. Even while he was falling, he must have sensed, for an awful moment, the desolation of dying in the light of afternoon on a patch of earth far from home. Yet, here on this plot of ground which his body spanned, was home for Tony. And these Koreans were, by choice, his people. This is how it came to pass that Anthony Collier should know once and forever the saddest of all sad questions: “My people, my people, what have I done to thee?”

His body lies under a mound, three feet high, on the spot where he fell. Flowers are blooming now at the base of a small cross that marks the spot.

In these comparatively quiet evenings that have come recently to Chunchon, you may see a figure of a Korean boy walking the road. He stops occasionally at the mound, and above the ripple of purple scarred flesh that runs along his throat, you can see his lips moving in prayer. Gabriel is still alive. His back bears the marks where the burp gun ate into his flesh. And farther into the town, along the street where apples and mandarin oranges are sold, a little girl still sells komosins for her father; and she will ask these afternoons, the question that Father Tony Collier delighted to hear: “Are you in peace?”

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America and possibly other nations. Within the United States you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.