Sunday, November 15, 2009

Joint Memorial in the Land of the Mourning Calm

Dado-myeon, Naju-si, Jeollanam-do : a place like many others.

Here too, many people died during the Korean War. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Korea established the sad score at 176-104 in "favor" of Southern officials against communists.

The Hankyoreh related this morning ("
Commemorating victims of the Korean War" - Hankyoreh 20091116) how last Friday, 200 residents overcame old resistances to commemorate, all together, all victims in a joint memorial service.

The journalist quoted a spokesperson who had these words of wisdom : "We think that the victims would wish for their descendents to strengthen the community through forgiveness and cooperation".

There is no better way of looking towards the future : assessing the past, accepting it, recognizing all victims, respecting their memories, curing anger and bitterness by embracing reconciliation.

Dado-myeon, Naju-si, Jeollanam-do : a place like many others.

For one day capital of reunited Korea, and forever in our hearts.


Seoul Village 2009

* see "
Truth and Reconciliation : which model for Korea ?"


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ADDENDUM 20091103

A few more joint memorials (source TRCK) :

20091017 - Joint Memorial Service for Civilian Victims in the Ganghwa and Gyodong-do Region
The joint memorial service for civilian victims in the Ganghwa and Gyodong-do regions was held on October 17, 2009. Sponsored by the regional bereaved family association (Representative Seo Young-seon), the memorial ceremony was prepared to console the spirits of the dead who were killed around the time of the January 4th Retreat in 1951. From the Commission’s investigation last March, the 183 civilian victims who were identified were honored at this ceremony. The 5th regiment chief of the Jeonjin Marine Corps, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Defense, Kim Tae-young, said in his memorial address, “We, the military of the nation, will put forth our utmost effort to protect the lives and the property of the people, and the findings of these investigations will be our lessons from the past.”

20091019 - Unveiling Ceremony of the Yeosun Incident Memorial Statue
On October 19, 2009, a memorial service was held in front of the Yeosun Incident Memorial Statue in the city of Yeosu . The ceremony was attended by some 100 people including civil activists, bereaved families, etc. The statue was erected to commemorate the incident, which took place 60 years ago. It bears a detailed engraving that describes the brutal truth of the incident.

20091020 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims of the Yeosun Incident
Commemorating the 61st anniversary of the Yeosun Incident, some 150 people including bereaved family members, gathered in a field at Suncheon Palma Gymnasium on October 20, 2009. During the ceremony, a memorial service for 439 civilian victims, who were identified through the Commission’s investigation, was held. For the first time, the government subsidized the cost of the memorial service due to the Commission’s case report.
The regiment chief of Suncheon 95th Regiment spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Defense when he said in his memorial address, “It is fortunate to console the spirits of the victims and restore their honor. Our army will put forth our utmost effort to protect the lives and the property of the people, and thus, meeting a high expectation placed upon my shoulders.”
Additionally, he said, “It was fortunate that the Commission’s truth verification was publicized to restore the honor of the victims and their families. Taking this as an exemplary case, the army will do our best to protect the lives and the property of the victims in order to meet the expectations of the people.”

20091021 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims in the Haenam Region
The joint memorial ceremony for civilian victims in the Haenam region was held on October 21, 2009. Approximately 150 people attended the ceremony, including Kim Dong-choon, the Commission’s standing commissioner; Im Tae-hwan, a representative of the Pan-national Civilian Massacre Victims’ Association; and Kim Chil-seong, a police chief of the Haenam Police.
The ceremony began with the opening remarks of Choi Myung-jin, an anchor for the Christian Broadcasting Station, and also a representative of the National Bereaved Family Association. This was followed by a ritual dance for the dead, an introduction of the Commission’s investigation, and the dictation of memorial addresses by Kim Dong-choon, the Commission’s standing commissioner, and the regional police chief.

20091022 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims in the Wando RegionThe joint memorial ceremony for civilian victims in the Wando region was held on October 22, 2009. Approximately 400 attendees were present at the ceremony, including Kim Dong-choon, the Commission’s standing commissioner; Oh Won-rok, a chairperson of the National Bereaved Family Association of Civilian Victims; Kim Jong-sik, the governor of Wando-gun; and Kim Jae-seok, the police chief of the Wando Coast Guard. The memorial ceremony was comprised of a funeral ritual and traditional ritual dance, a report introducing the investigation process at the Commission, a memorial poem reading, and a flower offering.

20091023 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims in the Yeosu and Suncheon Regions
The joint memorial ceremony for civilian victims in the Yeosu and Suncheon regions was held on October 23, 2009. Some 150 attendees were present at the ceremony including bereaved family members. A traditional funeral ritual for the victims was followed by memorial addresses, a narration of memorial poems, and a flower offering.

20091031 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims in the Pyeongtaek Region
A joint memorial ceremony for civilian victims in the Pyeongtaek region was held on October 31, 2009. Approximately 100 people attended the event. The ceremony included a reading of the memorial statement, traditional funeral rituals, a presentation on the Commission’s investigation results, a flower offering, etc. Unable to attend the ceremony, Kang Hee-rak, the police chief of the Korean National Police Agency and Ahn Byung-ook, the president of the Commission, sent their memorial addresses to the ceremony. These addresses were based on the findings of the Commission’s investigation of ‘Civilian Massacre in Pyeongtaek Cheongbuk-myeon Region.’

20091104 - Joint Memorial Service for Victims Related to the National Guidance Alliance Incidents in Ulsan Region
A joint memorial ceremony for victims of the National Guidance Alliance was held on Nov. 4, 2009, in Ulsan. Approximately 500 people attended the ceremony, including Song Ki-in, the former president of the TRCK; Park Maeng-woo, the city mayor of Ulsan; Yun Myung-hee, the chairperson of the Ulsan City Council; etc. In his memorial statement, Park stated that the Ulsan National Guidance Alliance Incident was such a horrible atrocity beyond description due to the massive victimization of civilians by the state. He found it fortunate that people could gather on that day to console the spirits of the dead.
The Commission verified that 407 registered members of the National Guidance Alliance were shot to death by the state power in August 1950. This was the first time the National Guidance Alliance Register was publicized. On January 24, 2008, the former president of the Republic of Korea, Roh Moo-hyun, officially apologized for the state’s illegal action against civilian victims.

20091105 - Joint Memorial Ceremony for Civilian Victims of the Andong Region
A joint memorial ceremony for civilian victims in the Andong region was held on November 5, 2009. Hosted by the regional bereaved family association, some 150 attendees paid their honor and respect to the victims. The attendees included Kim Dong-choon, the standing commissioner of the TRCK; Kim Hwi-dong, Andong City Mayor; Yoo Seok-woo, the chairperson of the Andong City Council; etc.
The event included a traditional funeral ceremony, a ritual ceremony, a spiritual funeral performance, and a flower offering. The Ministry of Defense issued an official apology to the civilians who were killed in Andong City by the military and local police. The Commission identified 64 victims.

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