Mother! I have killed.
I have killed over ten people, separated from me by only a stone wall.
Mother! Why must there be war?
It seems my heart will only find rest if I convey to you my confused and agonizing state.
I wish that the war would soon be over and I that could go back into your arms.
I promise that I will survive this and return to your side.
- Journal of Lee Woo-geun, Hakdobyeong in the August 11, 1950 battle at Pohang Girls' Middle School
In June 1950, young students aged sixteen to nineteen took up arms to defend their country, which they saw was in grave danger. At an age where they should be studying hard under the loving care of their parents, these underage student soldiers, hakdobyeong, became an unprecedented form of military organization by voluntarily participating in the Korean War. However, sixty years after the war, there are few who remember their efforts and their sacrifice. There are some who do not even know of the hakdobyeong's existence. Sixty years after the beginning of the Korean War, we must recognize that the tragic war is not the only thing to be remembered.
Hakdobyeong, young souls who sacrificed even their lives for their country. Now in June 2010, we remember and honor each precious name.
◆Hakdobyeong [Hakdouiyongdae/ 學徒兵, Student Soldiers]
When the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, young men in their late teens and early twenties from all around the nation decide to enter the war. They participated in the war as students, and as voluntary soldiers. They were true patriots who, after only a few weeks of basic training, fought in the Korean War wearing school uniforms or crudely fitting military uniforms without any official military status or rank.