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Second round of reunions of separated families in 2018 -Final day: Bidding tearful farewell


This was the final day of the second round of reunions in 2018. At 9:40 a.m., the southern families gathered in the banquet hall on the second floor of the Mount Kumgang Hotel. A sense of sadness was palpable in the faces of the family members waiting for the last meeting. At 10:00 a.m., the northern families came up to the second floor amid applause of the staff members.

At the final meeting, the family members did not let go of each others’ hands and hugged each other as they knew this would be the last time that they would ever likely see each other. Some could not hold back the tears. They took pictures to retain the scene of being together and exchanged contact numbers, though they each knew that they would not be able to contact each other. Some sang a song to ameliorate the sorrow of parting.

Pyeon Chan-ok (76) has Parkinson’s disease, and he wrote a heart-felt letter for his nephews in the North. His body stiffened, making it difficult to finish writing the letter, but took some medicine to persevere and finish it and gave it to his older brother.

Cho Jeong-gi (67) comforted his father, who was shedding tears due to the sadness of parting again, and said “Father, we can meet again.”

Kwon Hyuk-chan (84) comforted his northern brother, saying “Bro, we are going to be separated in 15 minutes, but don’t be upset. When we arrive in Seoul, the youngest and I also go home, respectively. It is okay, okay,” while controlling the grief.

At 1 p.m., it was announced that the meeting had come to an end, and then the separated family members burst into tears and hugged each other one last time. The northern family members hardly left the place, looked back and waved to their southern family members who kept calling them from the second floor.

After boarding the bus, the northern family members looked endearingly at their southern relatives through the windows. They grabbed each other’s hands to feel each others’ warmth for yet another moment and bid farewell – “I love you. I am happy to see you even now,” “Let’s meet again when the two Koreas are unified,” and “Stay healthy.”

The separated family members from the South waved their hands as the bus slowly pulled away until it was gone. Without uttering a word, they wiped away

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