WASHINGTON - After having traveled on foot from Los Angeles, a 70-year-old Korean Christian is expected to arrive at the nation's capital Wednesday in time to celebrate the nation's birthday.
Ahn Young Min flew from South Korea to Los Angeles and began a 3,750-mile trek across America on Oct. 24, 2006. His walk across the nation is an expression of gratitude to America and part of a larger celebration called "God Bless America Festival."
In collaboration with Korean churches and residents in the local Washington area, over 6,000 Korean Americans are expected to gather near the Capitol building to show their appreciation and deep gratitude to Americans for the last 100 years in which they helped bring freedom and the Christian faith to Korea.
"While the event celebrates how God used America to twice deliver Korea, once from the Japanese occupation in 1945, and then in 1950 from Communist North Korea and the Soviets, more than that, it celebrates the Gospel of Jesus Christ being brought to Korea in the late 1890s," said the Rev. Michael Hall, executive director of the International Bible Reading Association.
Hall was invited to the Fourth of July festival after a group of Korean Christians in May had participated in the 18th annual Bible Reading Marathon, which Hall directed.
"This is a great event," said Young H. Kim, CEO of Christian Broadcasting Network in Washington. "It's the greatest expression as a Korean people for the American people on the occasion of the 231st American birthday. [We want to] express our thanks and our love to America."
The highlight of the festival is the arrival of Ahn who is expected at exactly 3 p.m. Accompanied by his wife and a fellow Presbyterian (by car), Ahn, a member of the 30,000-member Kwanglim Presbyterian Church in South Korea, has walked for 253 days to reach the nation's capital.
This is also Ahn's third nationwide trek. Previously, he walked across mainland China as well as South Korea.