Thirty two years ago today…

my dad passed away.

He was 56.

Dad had a dream… a dream to one day return to his country in some political capacity. As a young man, Dad was the personal secretary to the first president elect of South Korea. A well-known figure in his country, many thought Dad would rise above the war rubble to help lead South Korea into a new era. But Dad knew the timing wasn’t right; he was young, the political climate uncertain.

Dad married, had a child and after much pondering decided to further his education abroad, studying Public Administration and Political Science at Harvard. He loved America, the people, the values, every pastime, every small town he visited, etc. He could make a life here and his former country a fond memory. But the dream was slowly forming in the back of his mind.

Several years passed, more kids were born, and when an opportunity to work at the World Bank came his way, Dad moved his family to Washington, DC.

And the dream waned…

A couple of decades passed. Life was comfortable in America. As a senior economist for the World Bank, Dad traveled the globe for his work. Whenever he was gone, I kept a picture of him under my pillow and counted the days until his return. On his final business trip, Dad had planned to make a stop in his homeland to possibly accept a political position. With his children all grown up, the timing was right to pursue his dream. But en route, he suffered a fatal stroke in the Hyatt Regency in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Dad’s untimely death changed the course of my life – I follow my dreams and encourage my child to follow his.

Dad died on October 9, 1979, just after midnight Honolulu time. Early this morning, just after 6am or midnight Honolulu time, our electricity went out for two minutes. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I’d like to believe that while Dad never fulfilled his life dream, he’s still here watching me fulfill mine…

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