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Opinion

Mailbag: Heritage must prevail at Bolsa Chica

HB Independent

With North and South Korea divided and turmoil brewing once again in the region, we are reminded of the war that led to the division of Korea. Sixty years ago, the United States sent its young but brave soldiers to fight for the freedom and democracy of the Korean people. Although many years have passed, U.S. soldiers have remained in the hearts and minds of the Korean people, who today are able to enjoy freedom of speech, religion and advancements of technology.

On April 24, Sgt. Charles Brown was honored and thanked by his taekwondo community at Victory Martial Arts of Huntington Beach for his sacrifice and selfless service in the Korean War. Brown (3rd Div., 7th Regiment, 1st Battalion, Co. D., 81 Millimeter Mortar Squad) had been stationed in a communist-held region for two years, during which he had lost more than 30 of his fellow soldiers. To this day, he remembers the names and places of those encountered during this horrific war.

“I was stationed at the bottom of communist-held Papa San (Mountain). During this time, I became very good friends with a Korean soldier, who we nicknamed Bill. He is the reason I have developed such a love for the Korean people,” Brown remembered.

In continued efforts to give back to our community and honor those who selflessly sacrificed their safety and well-being for others, Victory Martial Arts presented an honorary plaque of appreciation to Brown in front of the entire student body.

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In addition to the plaque, he was presented the rank of third-degree Black Belt, which was certified by the Kukkiwon taekwondo headquarters in Seoul, Korea.

“This is a teaching moment to our students,” said Grandmaster J.K. Kim. “They see their community pay respect to the elders, who put their well-being aside for the betterment of an entire nation. It will teach them to remain humble, thankful and inspired.”

The Korean War is known as the “forgotten war.” However, the service and sacrifice of the brave U.S. soldiers will never be forgotten by the Korean people.

Editor’s note: Kim is the head instructor at Victory Martial Arts.

Coyotes adapt, so can we

I have been fortunate to live in neighborhoods adjacent to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands since 1987. On many occasions over the years, I have walked or bicycled through the area just after sunrise, particularly near the mesa. It was not unusual to see 10 or more coyotes during these outings. They always kept a respectable distance, and I never intentionally approached them.

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I had no false delusions of safety, nor did I fear them as there was plenty of land and more appropriate prey for them.

As the mesa was developed, the tidal basin restored, and miles of fencing erected, the coyotes, along with the other wildlife, were squeezed into less usable land. As a result, many of them have been forced to venture from the sanctuary of their ancestors and roam nearby neighborhoods in search of sustenance and shelter.

The coyote are exposed to daily contact with humans, from the construction that has taken place on their habitat to the many people who visit the restored wetlands each day.

As a result, the coyote have become conditioned to seeing people nearly each and every day. And because the coyote do not perceive these interactions as threatening, their inherent fear of humans and the tethered animals that sometimes accompany us has diminished.

Alas, if only they were capable of comprehending the real threat that humans pose to their very survival, they would avoid us at all cost!

There are people who would have the coyote destroyed simply for adapting to the conditions we humans imposed on them. Some justify this action by attempting to differentiate between the coyotes that still reside primarily in the wetlands and those that have been forced to roam nearby neighborhoods.

This is a very fine line and one easily crossed.

Sadly, our desire to destroy every perceived threat or risk is as strong as it is shameful and cowardly. It is sad that some have lost beloved family pets, but doubtful that the killing of another living creature will console them.

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It is equally sad that city officials can be bullied into destroying an integral part of a delicate ecosystem by fear mongers that threaten legal action rather than take responsibility for themselves and their families.

Perhaps it is time that we learn to adapt to our surroundings in the same manner as the coyote.

Huntington Beach


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