MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - South Korean native Yun Sung Chung has lived in the United States for 40 years. He owns a local Tae Kwon Do school.
And while he hasn't lived in Korea for quite some time, he remembers things about the Kim dynasty.
"Kim Jong Il's father, Kim Jong Sun and Kim Jong Il were crazy dictators," he says.
Chung says when he heard the news of Kim Jong Il's death, "first thing I [could] think about is the south and north uniting. That's what I've been thinking," says Chung.
He hopes the dictator's passing paves the way for a more peaceful relationship between North and South Korea. But he knows it all rests on Kim Jong Il's son--Kim Jong Un--who is expected to be the country's next leader.
"He might be changing things in the world, so it may happen. I don't know...but I'm just hopeful that happens," says Chung.
"I wonder what's going to happen now," adds Rachel Blackstock.
She teaches at Chung's school and has recently started learning the Korean language and culture. She wants to move there in a few years, but admits plans could change.
"You just don't know. You have to sit back and see who takes power and how the situation changes in North Korea."
Both believe if the countries came together, it would make for an even stronger Korean nation.
"They have similar historical customs and it's all similar tradition," says Blackstock.
"So we can share together, and coming up...a better life for the North and South," says Chung.
Chung says even though he doesn't live in Korea anymore, he still feels for the people there.
In fact, some of his family and friends can't even see each other because they're divided by the border.
He says unity would not only make them happy, but him too.
North Korean officials are urging the 24-million citizens there to rally around the possible new leader--Kim Jong Un.
South Korea's military, however, is on high alert.