From the top of the Gwangbok Lotte Department Store
I can see the Yeongdo(daegyo) Draw Bridge crossing Busan Harbor.
From this height, the bridge seems small and almost insignificant,
but for Koreans it has been elevated to a sacred symbol due to the war.
When families were torn apart during the Korean War,
Yeogndo Bridge became the primary place to go
for people hoping to reunite with family members,
the point to reconnect those loved ones torn apart.
The bridge became a posterboard for messages to relatives
who’d survived to make it all the way to Busan,
the tides of the anguished surging to the deep south.
Pieces of paper and tattered cloth tied to the railings
bore the words indicating someone had survived,
the hope being that relatives who’d lived as well
would see these notes and find the ones who’d written them,
rejoicing both in blood’s embrace of blood’s return.
Because it served this crucial purpose during the war,
Yeongdo Bridge has risen to a symbol for hope overall.
Of course, many people did celebrate being reunited by this bridge,
but others did not, could not, so many killed or relocated to places unknown,
stunned by alien scenes and sick for something like remembered homes,
perhaps lost forever to some strange site either in this world or the next.
And so do many hold on optimistically for reunification of North and South,
a hope for Korea reuniting that may happen, but then again may not.