National Seniors Day – Ceremony with senior citizens
Date: October 2nd, 2014
Venue: Multipurpose Hall, Seoul City Hall
Hello, senior citizens of Seoul. I am Park Won Soon, mayor of Seoul. I am very pleased to see all of you in great shape today, and I hope you will have many more happy and healthy years in the future.
Today, we have invited centenarians living in Seoul. It is an honor to meet centenarians in person and I am thankful not just for the longevity you have earned but for the better days you will have. The expression ‘Centenarian Youth’ is not strange to me anymore, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.
As a means to celebrate ‘the centenarian youth’ and push beyond to ‘the bi-centenarian era’, please give our elders here a big round of applause.
Senior citizens are a living testament of our history. They have been through the Japanese colonial repression and the Korean War, and have sacrificed themselves for their families and the nation. With frugality and hard work, they served their parents and raised kids of their own. Putting their children’s education first through all circumstances, including hunger and poverty, made Korea a hub of global human resources.
Korea has become the world’s 10th largest economic powerhouse through the miracle on the Han River and democratization, feats made possible by the elders in front of us through their sweat and tears. Without you, our senior citizens, no Korea could exist. Without you, our senior citizens, we could not stand here firm today. As a means to extend our appreciation, Seoul City is working hard to become a city in which the elderly can spend their gracious final years in peace and satisfaction.
The first step is ensuring the senior citizens can lead lives of dignity and comfort by extending senior care centers from 508 to 718, and adding 100 senior daycare centers. Seoul city is also visiting single seniors not just for checking up on their condition but also for making them feel more secure. The second step is providing jobs for the elderly to energize their lives through economic activity. Seoul City has planned to create 50,000 jobs for able and willing elders. We will be willing to create more jobs in the future as well. The third step is supporting diversified cultural activity programs for seniors to enjoy. For this purpose, the city has already 32 large senior centers, and is building smaller-sized centers every year. 3,258 community senior citizen centers arrange a variety of programs to allow seniors to have meaningful autumn years with activities relating to health, hobbies, and volunteer work.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been striving to help seniors enjoy a health and happy life; however, we are still far from where we would like to be. For Seoul City and me, it is our ongoing mission to continue putting our best effort towards providing you with better support and care. A society with unhappy elderly citizens is not healthy. A society that doesn’t appreciate elders has no hope. In a family in which elders are respected, their children are pleased. A happy Seoul and happy Korea starts from happy families where parents are respected.
Together with Seoul Metropolitan Government, I, Park won soon, will make our society one where elders are respected and their well-being is valued. For your better life, we will do our best!
I sincerely appreciate the time and effort of the Korean Senior Citizens Association for organizing this event. I am grateful to the chairperson of Seoul City Health and Welfare Committee Lee Soon Ja, president of the Korea Entertainers Association ‘Hanmaum’ Kwon Sung Hee, and president of the Seoul Taxi Missionary Association Lee Sung Ho, for your presence and support.
In this weather, when the temperature drops low at night, be extra careful not to catch a cold. Stay warm, and be happy. Last but not least, we have prepared an elaborate performance for you, so please enjoy the show. Honored senior citizens, I, Park Won Soon, will strive to serve you better, as a good son would serve his parents, with love and respect. Thank you.