Itaewon disaster ‘1 year’ Itaewon dyed purple… Seoul Plaza filled with mourners

Exactly one year has passed since the October 29 Itaewon disaster. The area in front of Exit 1 of Itaewon Station, where the disaster occurred, was colored purple, and Seoul Plaza, where a joint memorial altar was set up immediately after the disaster, was once again filled with enthusiasm to commemorate the victims.

The October 29 Itaewon Disaster Victims’ Family Council and others held a prayer meeting for the four major religions (Protestantism, Buddhism, Won Buddhism, and Catholicism) in front of Exit 1 of Itaewon Station at 2 p.m. on the 29th. About 500 citizens (estimated by the organizers), regardless of gender, age, or nationality, gathered to watch the prayer meeting in a solemn atmosphere, holding in their hands purple pickets that said, “We will remember,” “Find out the truth,” and “Establish measures to prevent recurrence.”Those who came a long way to listen to the prayer meeting and those who happened to visit Itaewon and came across the prayer meeting all stopped on the street and listened to the voices commemorating the victims. Lee Eun-seon (25) from Siheung said, “I am so sad because it reminds me of the time when I encountered the incident at home last year,” and added, “It is sad that nothing seems to have changed in the past year.”

On the ’10/29 Path of Memory and Safety’ created in the alley where the disaster occurred, condolences written on yellow post-it notes were piled up. Lim Eun-hee (43), who wrote down a post-it note with her son Kim Tae-geon (9), said, “I came to the site with the hope that something like this will not happen again in my son’s generation.” Kim expressed his feelings for the victims, saying, “I wrote ‘Rest well in heaven’ on a post-it note.”

There were also citizens who expressed their anger over the tragedy to the police controlling the scene. One citizen wearing a black hat said to the police, “Only on that day do so many people come. “What did you do that day?” he shouted.

◆Like a year ago… After the prayer meeting at Seoul Plaza, which was filled with mourners,

the bereaved families and citizens marched through the Yongsan Presidential Office and Seoul Station to Seoul Plaza. Afterwards, a citizen memorial rally called ‘Memory, Remembrance, and Commitment to the Truth’ was held at Seoul Plaza from 5 to 8 p.m. The Bereaved Families Council said, “This is an opportunity to remember and commemorate the 159 victims, and to pledge never to give in to find the truth that has not yet been revealed.”

Despite the chilly weather after the sun set, about 10,000 citizens (organizers’ estimate, police estimate: 7,000) attended the citizens’ memorial event. They focused on the remarks of the bereaved families and survivors on stage and showed solidarity, sometimes with applause and sometimes with tears.

Lim Hyeon-ju, mother of the late victim Kim Ui-jin, came on stage wearing the black leather jacket and beige baseball cap that her son Ui-jin wore at the time of the disaster. Mr. Lim explained, “This is the outfit that Uijin wore when she went to Itaewon Halloween a year ago to make beautiful memories.” Ms. Lim cried, saying, “My mother’s confidence that she would protect your happiness and love under any circumstances collapsed in an instant.” He continued, “Amazingly, even though there are clearly victims and victims in front of the social disaster, no one is revealing the truth, taking responsibility, or being punished.” He continued, “The truth of your unfair sacrifice is ours.” “Mom, Dad and the rest of the family will definitely find out,” he pledged.

The late Ahn Min-hyeong’s older sister also said, “I tried to live each day tenaciously, remembering how much you wanted to live,” and “I started running. “Every time I run out of breath, I think about how much I wanted to take that one breath in that alley, and every time I run, I shed tears,” he confessed. Ms. Ahn said to her younger sister, “I will live with all the feelings of pain, despair, and regret, so don’t worry about your parents there and just fly freely to beautiful places.”

Joohyun Lee, a disaster survivor, said, “I was on the floor of a club in Itaewon굿모닝토토 last year today, and I’m standing here now.” He said, “I will always stand and remain a survivor and continue to remember what the situation was like at that time.” He added, “I hope (other survivors) will come to me sometime in the future if they have a chance to be a little more courageous. “I want to be together,” he said.

Just like a year ago, the incense burner set up next to Seoul Plaza was crowded with citizens holding chrysanthemums and paying tribute to the victims. After finishing the incense offering, citizen Go Young-ju (27) said, “I felt sorry because I thought they were so ordinary young people that I may have met or could meet in the future. “It’s similar to the Sewol Ferry incident, but I feel frustrated as to why we have to watch the same scenes over time,” he said, wiping away tears.

◆Minister of Public Administration and Security Lee Sang-min visits the streets of Itaewon

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Administration and Security Lee Sang-min visited the streets of Itaewon the day before for the first time since returning to work last July and inspected the status of safety measures. Minister Lee visited the Itaewon disaster site in the morning, which was created as the ’10/29 Path of Remembrance and Safety’, laid flowers and held a moment of silence for about 10 seconds. When I saw that the floor plaque was wet from the early morning rain, I wiped it off with my palm and handkerchief. He said to the Yongsan-gu, police, and fire officials who accompanied him, “I hope that you will do everything you can to prevent accidents, at least in this area,” and asked, “Please make sure that the measures prepared this time become a ‘legacy’ in the future.” Minister Lee then visited the streets of Hongdae to conduct an on-site inspection and said, “We will do our best to spread a safety culture so that future disasters will not be repeated and the sacrifices of the victims will not be in vain.”

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon also attended the memorial event held at Seoul Plaza on this day. Mayor Oh visited the streets of Hongdae the day before, inspected the scene, and posted on Facebook, saying, “I saw with my own eyes that our society is moving one step further after overcoming the great pain of last year.” On the 27th, he visited the site of the Itaewon disaster and said a moment of silence in memory of the victims, and promised, “I will make uninterrupted efforts to create a ‘safe Seoul’ so that a tragedy like that day will never be repeated.”

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