In 1983, a Korean TV station ran a live show reuniting families separated by war. It became a 138-day marathon of hope.
It kind of goes without saying that we could all use a reunion right now. And this video is a testament to the profoundly beautiful experiences that can happen when people are reunited after long absences. It's also a testament to the idea of never giving up hope. After all, these Korean families were separated by 30 years after the horrific civil war that led to the creation of North and South Korea. An estimated 2-3 million Korean civilians died in the conflict, more than World War II and Vietnam. And with technology then not being what it is now, thousands of family members were separated during and after the conflict, often with no way of finding out if their loved ones had survived.
So, in June 1983, Korean broadcast station KBS News broadcast a special to help reunite displaced family members. It was reportedly the first time a television program had been used to reunite families separated by a war. The entire program was meant to go on for about 45 minutes. But after an incredible outpouring of Korean seeking help finding their relatives, it ended up lasting for 138 days and a total of 453 hours.. And as this short video shows, it might just be one of the most powerful moments in television history.
Parents reunited with children, brothers and sister seeing each other for the first time in decades, it's incredibly powerful to put it lightly. So much time had passed that participants were required to state a number of facts to confirm their identities and relations. But sometimes none of that was necessary. In one exchange, the network says: "We have a woman who says she's your mother. Seen on a split screen, the younger man response emotionally: "That's her. I would never forget my mother's face."
The mother's first words? "You must have suffered a long time." Her son: "For so long." Then, the two burst into tears and are reunited.
Like we said, incredibly powerful stuff.
So much so that over 100,000 Koreans signed up to participate as the show carried on for 138 days, more than one-third of an entire year, in a non-stop marathon of reunion efforts.
Even then-President Ronald Reagan weighed in, saying: "I've heard about the program that uses television to reunite families that have been torn apart. Today, I urge North Korea it is time to take part in this TV reunification program."
Ultimately, 10,189 families were reunited. You can watch a short highlight of some of the reunions below:
This news broadcast reunited 10,189 families separated by warwww.youtube.com
- 10 photographs that boldly show how very different life is in the 2 ... ›
- How North Korea went nuts explained in 120 seconds. Scary (but ... ›
- What's it actually like in North Korea? A million times worse than you ... ›
- South Koreans will soon be the same age as the rest of the world - Upworthy ›
- Korean war veteran reunites with Japanese love - Upworthy ›