Norway Oslo (2)

>> My name is Fillmore Kent, and I am 85 years old, and I served in Korea from November '53 until November '54. That was the last two continents in NORMASH history. I volunteered, as everybody who served in Korea. The reason why the Norwegian, Trygve Lie, was the first general secretary of UN starting in 1946, and it was very much publicity around the Korean War in Norway at that time. So, of course, I wanted to help. Also, it was an exciting because you cannot imagine today how far away Korea and Norway was. The second reason, or the third reason, was that I needed money to start my study in Germany, and the salary was partly paid in Korea and partly in Norway so you can save. We all had 6-month contract. I renewed my contract after 6 months, and that's the reason why I spent 1 year in Korea. The reason why I was picked out was that I had some first aid courses in Red Cross, and I was already a laboratory man, so I first picked out to serve at the hospital laboratory. When I came down, the position was occupied, so they put me as assistant to the operation tent. It was quite a new experience for me, but I learned rather quickly, and you get used to it. It was after the armistice, but we still had very many military patients but gradually fewer army people and more Korean civilians. After the 6 months, we had the opportunity to travel down to the hospital in Busan, the Swedish hospital, permanent hospital, so we get to know very much some Swedes. We had also very good relations with the Koreans in the camp. We were close friends. I have a theory in that aspect, Korea is a rather small country dominated by China and Japan. Norway is also a small country, dominated for centuries by the Danes. Norway was just a farmer's country with no education. If you wanted to have education, you had to go to Copenhagen. Later, we were under the strong influence by the Swedes, so my theory is that Korea and Norway have more or less the same history, even though they are opposites of the world. In April '54, NORMASH also engaged six Korean nurses already educated to help out because of the many Korean civilians, and I got to know one of them, and she came to Norway in '57 for further education and to meet me. We married in '61. We are still married. We have three children and eight grandchildren. So for me, the Korean event influenced my whole life afterwards. My wife is really happy because it's very important for Koreans to have a family and some success, so she's quite satisfied in her life also. >> I would love to see her picture. I would love to see her picture. >> I not here. >> Oh, wow. Fascinating. You went back to Korea, you said, for a visit, right? >> Yes. >> How many times? >> Yes. I think after ... These are the 30 years after the armistice. Koreans started the revisit tours, and I have been in Korea twice, in '83, so after 30 years, and in 2010. It was very surprising to get to come there and see that the fort is still ready to shoot after 30 years of armistice. >> Even now? >> Even now. But I mentioned the Busan hospital Swedes. As I told you, we got along, Swedes, very good, and they were both countries who had commission in Tongduchon to secure the armistice, and they still are there, I suppose, so we could visit them very early in 1954. I'm also a board member of the Korean War Veterans Association in Norway, and we have two events yearly here at the memorial statue. In June, the military attache located in Stockholm comes to pay tribute to our dead, and in the second Friday of November, we have our annual meeting. >> Don't touch that. With your hands, don't ... >> Oh. Oh. Okay. Sorry. >> Okay. Say that again about your Association reunions. >> Huh? >> About your reunions. Say it again. You have two ... >> Yeah. Okay. I'll start from the ... Yeah. Okay. Mm-hmm. >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Now, the Korean Veterans Association have two occasions to remember the dead ones here at Akershus Castle. The first one is in June. The military attache for Sweden and Norway located in Stockholm, he comes to pay tribute. And also the second Friday in November, we have our annual meeting where we also have a ceremony at the statue, and our president [INAUDIBLE], he is a former officer in the king's guard, and he takes care of the ceremony with flags, with armed guards and military band. So it's a rather great experience for us. >> Do a lot of people come? >> Yes, because in our association, we also have members who served at the Scandinavian hospital in Seoul, which was created in '56 or something, so they who served there also are members of our association. >> Do Korean Norwegians come, too? >> Yes, of course, the embassy and the embassy staff and some Koreans, too. >> How about young people? >> Not so many young people, but my experience is that young people in Korea, they know very much about the Korean War. >> More than other countries. >> Yeah. >> Well, what do you think, because the Korean War is called, "The Forgotten War"? The Korean War, they say, is "The Forgotten War." >> Mm-hmm. Not for me. >> Hm. You're right. So I'm hoping to preserve this history for young people, younger generations. I'm very glad that Julie is here because she is young Norwegian, and I want more young Norwegians to be proud of your service. >> I can also mention that from 2010, Korea also invited grandchildren of veterans. So in the first tour, we had 12 participants from Norway [INAUDIBLE] from Norway, and they had 1 week in Seoul and Busan and 1 week marching along the line, so it was a really good experience for them. >> Did your grandchildren go? >> Yes. I had one grandchildren. Actually, I had two grandchildren now, and when I revisited Korea in 2010, I brought also another grandchildren with me, and [INAUDIBLE] grandchildren and also Lucy [INAUDIBLE] on Saturday if she had the grandchildren. >> What did they think? >> They were very happy, and of course, it was a great experience for the grandchildren, too. >> I'm sure they were very proud of you. I think so, right? Because they see Korea now, right? What do you think of Korea now? >> Now, as I already said, the frontline passed four times through Seoul, so it was nothing left when we arrived, so it's amazing how the Koreans can manage. They are very clever and very grateful, work very hard. >> Yeah. We do work hard, and we're very grateful people. >> Yeah. >> We are very, very thankful. >> Yeah. Mm-hmm. >> We don't forget. >> No, and of course, if you look to North Korea, you understand why you are grateful. >> Yes. I say that I am very, very fortunate and blessed that I was not born in North Korea, you know? >> Yeah. >> So I hope that, you know, you went, and you defended South Korea's freedom, right? I hope that the war will end soon and Korea would finally have peace and reunification so that North Koreans can also enjoy freedom. Do you think that's possible? >> Doesn't look that way. And, of course, Germany was divided in the same way, and it ended, but you can still see a difference between West Germany and East Germany, even in Berlin. So it's not easy to combine West Germany and East Germany, still some problems, and I suppose in Korea, it must be even more problems. But of course, I will wish you good luck. >> Yeah. I hope so, too. Anything you would like to say to maybe young people all around the world about war, peace, about your experience in Korea? >> No. I don't think so. >> No? Well, thank you so much for your time. >> Okay. Okay.