April 16 marked the four-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry Tragedy. This year, the South Korean government held its first official memorial for the three hundred four victims, who lost their lives in the 2014 disaster. The memorial service was held in Ansan of Gyeonggi Province, where most of the victims had lived and attended school. Five thousand people, including family members and high-level government officials attended the event to pay their respects.
The April 16 Family Association (4.16 가족협의회) called for uncovering the root cause of the ferry’s sinking and the failed rescue operation, as well as accountability for those responsible.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon represented the Moon Jae-in administration at the memorial event. The Moon administration promised it will “completely investigate the truth behind the Sewol Ferry disaster and take the lesson to heart to put in full effort for a safe Republic of Korea.” It has also committed to building two permanent memorial sites — the April 16 Life Safety Park in Ansan, and in Mokpo, where the recovered Sewol Ferry now sits.
Koreans across South Korea and overseas also held memorial events this past weekend to honor the victims of the Sewol Tragedy. In Seoul, thousands gathered in Gwanghwamun Plaza on April 14 for “The Promise of April 16 Cultural Festival.” They vowed to never forget and continue to push for fact-finding efforts to uncover the truth.
In New York, people gathered in Koreatown to pay their respects.
In Toronto, over one hundred Canadian Koreans gathered for a memorial service.
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