Opening of a new memorial hall for victims of the Sewol ferry disaster
Date November 21, 2014 | Venue The Memorial Hall for Victims of the Sewol Ferry Disaster (3rd floor of Seoul Metropolitan Library)
Good morning. I am Park Won Soon, the mayor of Seoul Special City. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the bereaved, and to all of you for coming here to attend the opening of a new memorial hall for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. Today is a truly meaningful day. The tragic sinking of the Sewol, which took 304 innocent lives, has thrown the whole nation into a state of unforgettable shock and grief. On April 27, a group memorial altar was set up at Seoul Square to remember the victims. 209 days have passed since then. We must never forget this tragedy, and likewise the victims must never be forgotten. To remember this tragedy, we have built a new memorial hall for victims of the Sewol ferry disaster on the 3rd floor of the Seoul Metropolitan Library.
More than 350,000 people have visited the group memorial altar so far. As there were still many people coming to light incense in memory of the deceased, we decided that a proper place, rather than a temporary one, was urgently needed, where people could remember the grief and lessons left by the tragedy. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the bereaved for their unstinting advice and support in making this place more meaningful to all of us.
People will remember and commemorate the tragedy at the memorial hall, and will share and heal the scars of the bereaved and our society under these four themes: memories, commemoration, engagement, and healing. There is an old saying that goes, “The people who forget the history of their country have no future.” We must bear in mind that the history here not only refers to the remote past but also to our most recent history as well. We should always remember this tragedy so that it does not happen again. The memorial hall will always be open to all of you, just as the group memorial altar was. I sincerely ask for your interest and participation.
Finally, I must express my heartfelt thanks to the Korean Red Cross, the Volunteer Center, and city officials for their warmhearted support for the group memorial alter, as well as to the bereaved and all of our citizens for the words of encouragement. Thank you so much.