From the time the armistice ending armed conflict brought the Korean War to an official end in July, 1953, the people of South Korea and the Republic they established began to say “Thank You” to the 22 United Nations who had saved them from communist conquest and subjugation. They continue to do so today, in contrast to so many of this country’s “friends” and “allies” around the world who have also benefited from America’s generosity in blood, selfless service and treasure.
In September, 1965, after three years of organization and initial training, a cadre of young Korean children christened “The Little Angels” came to Gettysburg to present their first world concert for an audience including President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Since that inaugural performance, succeeding casts, made up of girls (mostly) between the ages of 9 and 13 have toured 50 overseas countries, giving more than 6,000 performances in 70 countries.
On February 8, “The Little Angels” came to Cedar City, Utah for their premier performance of 2012, filling the Heritage Center theater to capacity while presenting a display of talent and discipline designed to continue their country’s ongoing commitment to veterans who went to their homeland in the most trying of times, and who are now dying off at a rate of about 1,000 every week. For the “Little Angels” and the extended staff who make their “gift to the world” possible, the Korean War will never be “The Forgotten War”.
Photo No. 1 In its many forms and variations, the Bucheachum, or Fan Dance, reaches back 5000 years in Korean tradition, and while duplicating the beauty of flowers and butterflies, celebrates women in Korean culture. Jim Case photo
Photo No. 2 The ancient Lion Dance or Bukcheong Saji-nori, requires the most intricate coordination of the two performers who share each animal and its dance movements. Jim Case photo
Photo No. 3 The sanjo gayageum is a 12-stringed instrument dating from the 6th century, and played in the horizontal by the “Little Angels” for their Cedar City audience. Jim Case photo
Photo No. 4 At the conclusion of the February 8th concert, the “Little Angels” presented special medals of appreciation and a thank you hug to assembled Korean War veterans and special guests.
Photo No. 5 Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Chairman and President of the Korean Cultural Foundation and the heart and soul behind the “Little Angels” chats during intermission with MC Al Cooper while Mark Tobin, Western Assistant to Dr. Pak looks on. (In the performance’s long history, this was the first occasion where the Master of Ceremonies was also a Korean War Veteran – as is Dr. Pak himself.)
Photo No. 6 On the morning following their concert the “Little Angels” gathered with veterans and public officials at memorial Park in Cedar City where they sang “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace” at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Korean War memorial. The lone boy member of the “Angels” stands out in his blue slacks!
Al Cooper can be heard on Cedar City’s KSUB 590 Talk Radio each Monday at 4:00 PM with “Provident Living – Home & Country”, now in its 10th year.