“I always wanted to live here,” said Kim, as interpreted through his grandson, Brian Kim of John’s Creek.
Born on Aug. 9, 1924 in Korea (now South Korea), Kim longed for freedoms protected by the United States. “Throughout the Korean history, the U.S. was regarded as very high. We always dreamed about coming to the United States,” he said.
The dream became a reality on Oct. 5 when Kim received his U.S. citizenship after studying for 2 ½ years for the test.
“The hardest part was studying for the test. There were over 100 interview questions,” said Kim, who practiced his answers to questions that his grandson and teacher recorded for him.
Kim correctly answered all 10 questions presented (from the 100).
“I prayed to God for wisdom and because of that I was able to answer the questions and do well. God helped me,” the Smyrna resident said.
For 40 years, Kim dreamed of America. He finally had the opportunity because his two sons live here. He initially lived with his eldest son, Kim Yong Ho, in Marietta and then in Tampa, Fla., with his other son, Andrew Kim, now a resident of John’s Creek. He has one daughter, Kim Yong Soon, who lives in Canada.
When he arrived, Kim immediately started classes at the English School at First Baptist Church of Marietta. The English School, established in 1971, is the oldest school for English as a Second Language in Cobb County. It grew from a a sewing class where impromptu English lessons were taught.
A retired Presbyterian minister in Korea, Kim said one of the greatest freedoms he enjoys is freedom of religion.
“I used to live under the Communist party and Japanese invasion. Because of those conditions when I came here, I didn’t have to think about that. I had all the freedom I wanted,” he said.
“I always wanted to come to the U.S. because America was so involved in Korea. Koreans are always thankful for that and I wanted to come to America. As an older person — a senior — the U.S. is like heaven,” Kim said.