placentia-post-office-to-be-renamed-in-honor-of-fallen-service-member

Source: OC Register
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More than 16 years after his death in Iraq, U.S. Army Pfc. Jang Ho Kim’s hometown post office will bear his name.

Introduced in February by Rep. Young Kim, H.R. 6630 — the federal bill renaming the Placentia post office in honor of the fallen soldier — was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The facility, located at 1400 N Kraemer Blvd. inside the Village Shopping Plaza, will be renamed the “PFC Jang Ho Kim Post Office Building” in remembrance of Jang Ho Kim, who on Nov. 13, 2006, was killed alongside another soldier during a combat operation in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle.

Jang Ho Kim, who attended Valencia High School in Placentia, was 20 at the time of his death.

The bill was cosponsored by all members of the California congressional delegation and unanimously passed the Senate.

Sang Soon Kim, Jang Ho Kim's mother, places a flower on the plaque dedicated to her son. (Photo by Stefani Peterson, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Sang Soon Kim, Jang Ho Kim’s mother, places a flower on the plaque dedicated to her son. (Photo by Stefani Peterson, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“I’m very proud,” his father, Seop Kim, said in Korean in a phone interview. “Private first class is a low Army rank, so I’m thankful that the American government is treating him like a hero.”

Jang Ho Kim’s sister Michelle Kim said she was surprised to hear the news.

“It’s now been over 16 years since Jang Ho gave his life, and the fact that people are still remembering him even today and to see that his memory continues to live on was just very moving,” she said.

The renaming of the post office is particularly special to Michelle Kim, who recalled how her family would frequent the building when she and her brother were kids.

“We were moved by the fact that the post office that’s being changed is literally the one that we all went to growing up,” she said. “Seeing that our hometown is honoring him in this way, it just made it even more special.”

His son was mature beyond his years, Seop Kim said. Not wanting his parents to worry, Jang Ho Kim never told his parents he was stationed in Baghdad, where conditions were brutal. Instead, he told them he was in a small town north of the war-torn city.

Seop Kim and his wife, Sang Soon, learned when two uniformed soldiers showed up at their doorstep. It was the first time Jang Ho Kim had lied to them, Seop Kim said.

“I thought, why would such an honest kid lie?” he said. “I was so torn.”

The pain of losing his son still lingers, but Seop Kim said he takes strength in religious faith and knowing that Jang Ho Kim held fast to his faith.

“The Army sent me a coin that Jang Ho carried with him,” he said. “It has a Bible verse written on it, and the fact that he had that on him still consoles us and allows us to live a life of gratitude.”

Rep. Young Kim's bill to rename a Placentia post office after a local fallen soldier was signed by President Biden in December 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Rep. Young Kim’s bill to rename a Placentia post office after a local fallen soldier was signed by President Biden in December 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“U.S. Army PFC Jang Ho Kim gave everything to preserve our nation’s values we hold dear,” Young Kim, R-La Habra, said. “While we cannot fully repay our fallen heroes, I am glad we can preserve his story in Placentia for years to come through the PFC Jang Ho Kim Post Office Building.”

The congresswoman’s office said a renaming ceremony will be held in the new year.

“We’re very thankful to the community, the leadership, and of course, Rep. Young Kim for helping to remember him in such a special way,” Michelle Kim said.

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