KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A special gathering for Korean Armed Forces Day on Tuesday honored veterans of the Korean War and survivors of the conflict.
The event was held at the Riverfront Community Center and came after President Donald Trump announced a possible meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently.
Insook Chang, an 85-year-old woman from South Korea who survived the war, spoke at the event about how U.S. troops came to her rescue.
In an interview with 41 Action News, she remembered when North Korean troops entered her father's village.
"The North Koreans came down with tanks roaring," explained Dennis Cho, her son-in-law who translated for Chang. "For three months, she lived under North Korean control.”
Chang said the occupation brought months of starvation and troops forced her to use her musical skills to teach communist songs in the village.
"They were singing songs such as 'Hail to Kim Il-sung' and praising the People’s Army, the North Korean army," Cho explained.
Chang was finally rescued when American soldiers liberated the area.
To this day, she said she remains grateful.
"She was so thankful when the American forces came to liberate Korea from communism," her son-in-law explained. "She wanted to hug them.”
Following the announcement of the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, Chang said she remained cautious of North Korea's intentions.
"She doesn’t feel that even though they meet, that Kim Jong-un would do much to change his ways," Cho said.
For others at the event on Tuesday, the proposed meeting brought hope for progress in the region.
John Atkins, who served in the Korean War from December of 1951 to June of 1952, said the talks could help bring peace.
"I think it’s a great deal that we’re going to be able to have firsthand knowledge and be able to sit down with the leader of North Korea," he explained. "If we can talk to him and get an agreement, we can say, 'Nuclear wars are history.'”
Moving forward, Insook Chang hoped the US could once again make a big difference in her homeland.
"Because of the help that Korea received from the US, Korea is where it is today," Cho explained. "She is forever grateful."