In honor of the 100th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, Seoul has announced the 2019 Centennial Anniversary of the March First Independence Movement Commemoration Project that comprehensively incorporates a memorial landmark project, participatory programs for the public, and commemorative events for people to celebrate and appreciate the sentiment of harmony.
Beginning in 2016, Seoul Metropolitan Government was the first local government in Korea to begin systematically pursuing commemorative projects in order to promote public understanding of the March First Independence Movement. Some of these projects include the creation of a memorial space for the public, the recognition of the independence movement participants’ honor, and the refocusing on the history of the independence movement in preparation for its 100th anniversary.
Samil-daero (Anguk Station to Jongno 2-ga), the origin point of the March First Independence Movement, will be reborn as a historically symbolic street on which people can relive the spirit of the March First Independence Movement as they take a break from daily life. Five other locations, including the Distribution Site of the Declaration of Independence, (which presently stands in front of Suwoon Hall) where the Declaration of Independence was held in safekeeping, and Cheondogyo Central Temple, where the national movement gathered following the March First Independence Movement, were also turned into public spaces. At Anguk Station (subway Line 3), the Centennial Stairs (underground floors 2-3) have been newly made with an inscription of the text of the Declaration of Independence.
On March 1st, the actual event celebrating the March First Independence Movement’s centennial will take place. The cries of the Korean nation that shouted for independence a hundred years ago will be reenacted during a parade down Sejong-daero.
The 2019 Centennial Anniversary of the March First Independence Movement Commemoration Project is meaningful as both the end of three years of hard work and also as the new beginning of the coming 100 years. Keywords from the past one hundred years include ▴sympathy (expanding people’s sympathy on the March First Independence Movement’s centennial), ▴memory (creating and using commemorative spaces), and ▴reflection (knowing accurately the history of the nation). There will be thirty detailed projects in total.
For citizens to experience the historical significance and understand the value of the March First Independence Movement, the Seoul March First Independence Movement Centennial Commemoration Event will be held throughout Seoul Plaza, Sejong-daero, and Gwanghwamun on March 1st while cultural events, such as the memorial exhibit of independence fighters, operas, cultural performances, and contemporary art exhibits, will be open for the public.
Historical sites that are filled with the spirit of sacrifice for the nation, like the Site of Taehwagwan Building, where national representatives of the March First Independence Movement recited the Declaration of Independence, and Samil-daero, the birthplace of the March First Independence Movement, will be reborn as public spaces for people to more closely remember and reflect of the spirit of independence.
Various exhibits, scholarly symposiums, historical lectures, and other participatory programs will be help to provide an opportunity for the public to relearn modern history, build an accurate understanding of history, and reflect on that history.