DNA matching brings Korean War veteran home after 66 years
Updated: 2019-08-22 09:26:48 KST
This photo shows South Korean Nam-gung Sun during his military service.
Having lost his parents at an early age, Nam-gung became a farmer to support his family along with his three siblings.
In 1952, two years after the Korean War broke out, he joined the army to protect the country,… leaving two children at home.
He was 23 years old.
He fought in the infamous Arrowhead Hill battle in the border town of Cheorwon inside what is now the Demilitarized Zone.
On July 9th, 1953, just 18 days before the Armistice Agreement was signed, he was killed by shrapnel from a bomb fired by Chinese forces.
For 66 years, his remains were left untouched inside the heavily-fortified DMZ before being excavated on May 30th.
In the meantime, his son Nam-gung Wangwoo, who was just 3 when his father left to join the war, had registered his DNA with the defense ministry in 2008, hoping it would lead to his father coming home one day.
The ministry runs the Killed-In-Action Recovery and Identification Agency,which has been using DNA samples to match recovered war remains since 2000.
So far, one-hundred-32 fallen heroes have been returned to their families thanks to the system.
Now 69 years-old, Nam-gung Sun's son has been reunited with his fallen father.
There will be a repatriation ceremony for him ahead of his burial at the National Cemetery.
If they haven't already, bereaved families can still register their DNA samples at nearby public health centers, military hospitals or the Killed-In-Action Recovery and Identification Agency.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.