Poem about Cheonan captures a nation’s pain

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Poem about Cheonan captures a nation’s pain

Return, sailors of PCC-772

This is an order. Return, sailors.

Calling PCC-772.

Everyone is anxiously awaiting you.

Not even pitch darkness

nor the rapid currents of the West Sea

can keep you from returning home.

This is an order, return immediately, sailors,

Sailors still in the operating area

Calling PCC-772.

Answer back, Sergeant Seo Seung-won,

from the gas turbine area,

Send a reply, Sergeant Jang Jin-seon,

from the diesel engine area.

You have already completed your duty

Return home before the night is over.

Calling PCC-772.

Answer back,

Staff Sergeant Ahn Kyung-hwan,

from the control room,

Send a reply,

Staff Sergeant Park Kyung-soo,

from the repair machine area,

Answer me, Sergeant Lee Yong-sang,

from the rear-end steering room.

Plow through the fast current

and float to the surface of the sea.

Return to us

With all your might.

Calling PCC-772.

Answer back, Corporal Jang Cheol-hee,

from the facility control room,

Send a reply, Sergeant Major Lee Chang-ki,

from the cafeteria.

Our UDT is going.

Wait and endure

until the SSU team arrives.

This is an order. Return, sailors.

Calling PCC-772.

Hear your names

And answer immediately:

Master Sergeant Nam Ki-hoon,

First Class Sergeant Shin Seon-joon,

Staff Sergeant Kim Kyung-soo,

Staff Sergeant Moon Kyu-seok ........

These are the names that have been called.

Return, sailors.

Leave the front and return home alive.

This is the last order from the Republic of Korea.

Our father, who protects the Republic of Korea,

Save the missing sailors of PCC-772,

still in the area of the operation.

You should not leave these 46 souls

alone in the cold sea

But lead them to their warm homes, alive.

Please do so. By all means, please do so.

By Kim Duk-kyu

The sinking of the Navy warship Cheonan last month led many people to shed bitter tears of deep sorrow for those who were lost or had gone missing. One of those people was Kim Duk-kyu, a medical professor at Dong-A University.

Overwhelmed by the tragic incident, Kim posted a poem on the Navy Web site recently titled “Return, Sailors of PCC-772,” crying out for the return of the missing sailors.

His poem found its way around the Internet and instantly touched the hearts of many Korean netizens.

“PCC” stands for “Patrol Combat Corvette.”

“When I was reading the names of the missing sailors in the newspaper the other day, I couldn’t help but cry,” Kim said in an appearance on a local radio program on Tuesday.

“The sadness and grief led me to put those emotions into words, which later became a poem. But I hadn’t expected the poem to receive so much attention.”

Kim, who served as an army surgeon, said one of his best friends was a navy surgeon stationed on Baeknyeong Island, which gave Kim an understanding of the tough conditions near the North Korean border.

Kim also said that he was angry the government had not provided full compensation to the families of those who died during the second west coast inter-Korean naval clash near Yeonpyeong Island in 2002, but that he has since had a change of heart.

“My feelings of resentment from back then have since changed into feelings of affection for the Navy,” he said.

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

Kim Duk-kyu

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