TIME Korean War

America’s ‘First Korean War Bride’ Comes Home

Recalling a wartime story that, at its heart, is less about warfare than about the simple, indomitable power of love

Occasionally, when working with the seemingly boundless treasure that is the LIFE magazine archive, one comes across series of pictures, or long-forgotten articles, that clearly and undeniably capture something telling about their own time — while casting an unexpected light on our own imperfect era.

Such is the case with Wayne Miller’s marvelous photographs — and, perhaps especially, with the sympathetic text — from an article that ran in LIFE in November 1951. Titled “A War Bride Named ‘Blue’ Comes Home,” the two-page feature captured the scene when a woman LIFE dubbed “the first Korean war bride to arrive in America” and her husband, Sgt. Johnie Morgan, landed in Seattle, where Johnie’s mom and dad were anxiously waiting to see their son and meet their new daughter-in-law.

In LIFE’s words, “As the troop transport General M. M. Patrick pulled into Seattle’s harbor, the band on the dock loudly struck up Here Comes the Bride.”

Crowds cheered excitedly, whistles tooted. Seattle and the U.S. were welcoming the first Korean war bride to arrive in America, Mrs. Johnie Morgan, home with her sergeant husband.

To soldiers in Korea Mrs. Morgan had been known as “Blue” because when she refused to tell them her name (it was Lee Yong Soon) they said, “Okay, you’ve got a blue sweater so your name’s Blue.” She first met Johnie Morgan (he was christened “Johnie,” not “John”) in Seoul in 1949 where Blue worked for the U.S. Army as communications supervisor. By the time Korea was a word on the lips of every American, Johnie and Blue were in love. But love in Korea in 1950 was precious and brief. In late June, with the North Koreans coming in on Seoul, Johnie’s outfit withdrew 200 miles south to Pusan, and Blue was left behind. Three weeks later, her feet bare and bleeding, Blue reached Pusan and Johnie Morgan. She had walked across country to Johnie. “I knew then,” says Johnie, “how much I loved the kid,” and he asked her to marry him. It took five months for marriage permission to clear the Army. Then, after their wedding last Valentine’s Day, which is Blue’s birthday, Johnie passed up innumerable chances to return to the States until Blue’s papers could be cleared.

Before the transport docked in Seattle a little boat pulled alongside and an official greeter climbed aboard to give Blue a $100 savings bond — a homecoming gift from the city of Seattle. When the couple came ashore, Johnie’s mother rushed up to kiss Blue. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she said.

Seven decades later, as Americans spend Veterans Day honoring those who served — with parades and with other, quieter remembrances — it’s also fitting that we take a moment and recall a wartime story that, at its heart, is less about warfare than about the simple, indomitable power of love.

[See more of Wayne Miller’s work at Magnumphotos.com]

TIME viral

Groom Sweeps Bride Off Her Feet Only to Drop Her Seconds Later

Don't worry: they were both okay and successfully married each other

Well, this is definitely one way to make an entrance. At a recent wedding in Arizona, the groom, apparently overcome with lots of romantic feels, decided to scoop up his bride as they made their way into the reception. He begins running as the bride proudly raises her bouquet into the air, the guests whooping in delight. Everything seems great until … boom. He takes a tumble — a serious tumble — and they both crash into the pavement.

But don’t worry. The bride, Julia Magdaleno, told ABC News that the fall looks a lot worse than it really was. They suffered some minor cuts and bruises and were a bit sore the next day, but otherwise, everything was okay. In fact, the bride thought the whole thing was hilarious. Though perhaps not as hilarious as this other memorable wedding mishap:

 

TIME Marriage

Millennial Brides Don’t Want to Wear White

79224010
A pink bride holding a pink bouquet MIXA—Getty Images/MIXA

A new poll sheds light on some generational differences in our views on wedding traditions--including who pays for the party

White weddings might soon be a thing of the past, because almost half of Americans (46%) disagree with the expectation that brides should wear white.

A new Harris Poll shows that wearing white is just one of a few wedding traditions that’s changing in an increasingly frugal climate. 46% of millennials now think that the bride’s family shouldn’t have to pay for the wedding, and only 56% think the groom’s family should pay for the rehearsal dinner. But millennials care about engagement rings more than older people do: 43% of millennials say they care about having an expensive ring, but only 21% of people over 68 think the engagement ring needs to be expensive. (Probably because older people know that a fancy ring isn’t the main ingredient of a long, successful marriage.)

Other traditions are hard to shake. Three quarters of respondents of all ages said bridal showers should be women-only, and 84% say that the bride’s father should still walk her down the aisle. 70% said the groom should ask the bride’s parents before proposing.

Even more surprising: 51% (and 47% of millennials) think the bride and groom should “wait” to have sex until after the wedding. This one sounds slightly dubious — are half of engaged couples in sexless relationships? Not likely.

 

 

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser