A Happy Day With Strong and Warmhearted Soldiers

A sentry with a beret on his head welcomed the Foundation members as they arrived at the 00 military unit. At the entrance, there was a signboard on which the words of “Faithfulness, Honor, Unity” were written, and a motto “Undefeated Warriors” was engraved on the tablet of stone, which showed the spirit of the soldiers.

Every year, the New Life Welfare Foundation visits military troops to comfort the soldiers on the front line. This year, they visited an airborne brigade which was well-known for its hard training. On November 5, when Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and about 40 members entered the 00 military district, unlike the grand appearance of the entrance, they felt like they were in a park because all the trees—gingko trees, maple trees, and silver magnolias—turned red and yellow.

Brigade commander and many officers welcomed the members with delight. Unlike the preconception that they might have hard-featured impression owing to hard training, they all looked strong but gentle. The brigade commander said, “Those who are of this brigade are an iron hand in a velvet glove. They have gentle impressions and are also living a righteous life in society.” And he boasted about his soldiers, “Actually, our brigade is one of the strongest troops with the most powerful fighting strength in the world.”

On behalf of all the Foundation members, Chairwoman Zahng expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their invisible efforts and sacrifice for the nation’s peace, saying, “I have been eager to see you because you do not spare your life to protect the life of people.” The brigade commander also gave thanks to her, “It is very encouraging to soldiers that there are people who appreciate their labors.”

Finally, the lunch time came, and the members treated soldiers to food that they had prepared: chickens, rice cakes, fruits, and beverages and so on at the grand restaurant of the base. When the brigade commander introduced the New Life Welfare Foundation just before they had lunch, over five hundred soldiers gave a big hand of enthusiastic welcome all together. Chairwoman Zahng comforted the soldiers who had come back from a long distance marching and others who received daily hard training, saying, “Thanks to your labors ad efforts, citizens are able to sleep comfortably and to make their living. I’m sorry for not preparing better gifts than these, but please receive our members’ warmheartedness.” That day, the Foundation donated three air-conditioner units, wishing them warm winter and cool summer.

The Foundation members had lunch together with the soldiers, having pleasant conversation with one another. Male members had a chance to recall their military service days, and female members to experience military culture for the first time. Since the soldiers here had not received comfort gifts or comfort letters before, the Foundation’s visit refreshed them a lot. When they almost finished having lunch, the members and soldiers sang songs in turns by the witty MC of a staff officer. As the brigade commander expressed, the members and the soldiers got close with each other like a family just within an hour.

In the afternoon, the Foundation members watched the military promo video and visited the unit museum, and watched exhibition of special military arts. They gave a big and heartfelt hand to the soldiers who endured all the difficult training courses for the security of our country and citizens’ safety with the patriotism to the bone, and completed their mission with the will of iron however hard and dangerous their given situations were.

After finishing all the schedules including commemorative picture-taking, the brigade commander and many officers served the members with hot tea in the reception room, feeling pity that they had to say goodbye. Colonel Jeong hang-rae, the chief of staff, said to the members, “You all look comfortable and beautiful with bright smiles. It may because you volunteer to do good. Please pay more attention to these soldiers overcoming the difficult procedures behind the curtain.” Jang Myeong-suk (33 years old), one of the members said, “Today, we’ve known how much training and labor our soldiers bear. All the soldiers seem my younger brothers.” Then, Colonel Jeong replied, “Thank you so much for taking even me as your younger brother,” so all the people around them burst into laughter.

When they were about to leave after saying goodbye, the brigade commander and many officers gave a souvenir and saw them off, shaking their hands, until the vehicles with the members went out of their sight. That day, they happened to know that the soldiers of the airborne unit willingly volunteered for relief efforts at dangerous spots like at the collapse of Sampoong Department Store in Seoul and also at Daegu subway tragedy. Each time, the members of the New Life Welfare Foundation were also providing free meals around the tragedy spot, so the airborne unit soldiers and the Foundation members had known for a quite long time.

What was most needed even for the strong soldiers, who had nothing impossible with the mental power to “make the impossible possible,” was our concern and love. For the life of citizens, all the airborne unit soldiers are fully prepared against all the dangerous situations such as war or terror. We wish them good health and a warm winter.