Resident’s Novel Captures Journey of Families in Divided Korea

DALLAS, TX—The conflict associated with the division of the Korean Peninsula is called “The Forgotten War,” but Dan Pak is determined that the experiences of his people are not overlooked.
 
The resident of Highland Springs, the Erickson Living retirement community in North Dallas, has written a novel, The Wood Bracelet.  Based on a true story, it captures the journey of a simple Korean family in the 1940’s separated through factors beyond their control: foreign occupation, war and ongoing political division. 
 
“This year carries historical significance.  It marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II when Korea was essentially divided into North and South,” stated Pak, 84.  “For hundreds of thousands of families, this was real.  The pain is still sharp and shared by many.”
 
During the Korean War, Pak served as an infantry captain for the Republic of Korea Army, conducting command briefings for high ranking military leaders.  He was even assigned to U.S. Army Lt. General Arthur G. Trudeau.  
 
He survived the war and left South Korea in November, 1961, only to return a few times for business.  In 1973, he arrived in the United States with his wife, two sons and daughter.  Pak would work as a sales engineer for two American firms located in the Atlanta region.  One of his significant projects involved the creation of electric power grids to serve rural areas of southeast Asia.
 
Their life in the United States was fruitful as the children earned college degrees and began successful careers.  Sadly, his wife of fifty-five years, June (Jung-hee in Korean), passed away in November, 2013, a turning point of sorts for Pak.
 
In deep mourning over her loss, Pak turned inward.  But his passion for writing broke his despair.  
 
“I wrote many op-ed pieces for newspapers in Georgia about observations of American life through the eyes of an immigrant,” noted Pak.  “In 2008, I compiled those columns to publish my first book.”
 
“Writing in the English language has always been therapeutic for me, and I was eager to begin a new project,” he said. 
 
He penned The Wood Bracelet based on the experiences of his wife and her sister.  They were separated in Japan, never to see each other again due to the political turbulence in Korea.  A wood bracelet given by June to her sister as a token of love and remembrance inspired the book’s title.
 
“Their story is heartbreaking, but representative of the challenges and quests for peace faced by many everyday Korean families at that time,” noted Pak.
 
Since the release of his book, Pak has held three book signings in the Dallas area, including one at Highland Springs.  “Many veterans live at our community, and they have been incredibly supportive,” he said appreciatively.
 
Pak still hopes for the unification of Korea, however faint that light shines now.
 
“While the eyes of the world are focused on the issues of the Middle East, seventy years later, there is still unfinished business in Korea,” stated Pak.
 
The Wood Bracelet is available on the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
 
About Highland Springs:  Highland Springs is one of eighteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living.  Located in North Dallas, Texas, the scenic 89-acre campus is home to more than 700 residents.  Highland Springs is the ideal greater Dallas retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.