The Year of the White Rat, True Reconciliation of 4·3, and Jeju Society’s Pledge of Peace
On Jan. 1, the Jeju 4·3 Peace Park was packed with New Year visitors.
That first morning of the year of the white rat (one of the 12-year zodiac animal deities), which marks the 72nd anniversary of Jeju 4·3, important figures in Jeju visited the Jeju 4·3 Peace Park to perform a ritual ceremony to pay tribute to those who died during Jeju 4·3 and to remind themselves of the spirit of peace.
About 100 Jeju government officials and council members participated in the ceremony, including Won Hee-ryong, governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province; Kim Tae-suk, chairperson of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council; Lee Seok-moon, superintendent of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Office of Education; Koh Hee-beom, mayor of Jeju City; and Song Seung-moon, president of the Association for the Bereaved Families of the 4‧3 Victims.
They offered the deceased flowers and incense with guidance from the chairperson of the Jeju 4·3 peace park, and then mourners offered incense and a silent prayer.
After the ritual ceremony, the heads of the organizations wrote messages emphasizing the spirit of peace and reconciliation in the visitors log located within the Memorial Tablets Enshrinement Room where the names of known victims from Jeju 4.3 are enshrined.
“Help us to sublimate the wounds of ideological conflict into reconciliation and integration,” Won wrote in the log.
“I will strengthen the education for 4·3 with the spirits on the first day of New Year,” Lee wrote.
Meanwhile, it was noted that the commander of the 9th Marine Brigade in Jeju made his first visit to the Jeju 4·3 Peace Park.
Brig. Gen. Jin Kyu-sang, commander of the 9th Marine Brigade, accompanied by Col. Park Hee-bo, Chief of Staff and other staff members, joined the ceremony in front of the Memorial Service Altar in the Jeju 4·3 Peace Park.
They finished offering incense with the guidance of Yang, Song and director of 4·3 Research Institute Heo Young-sun, and wrote in the visitor log: “I will command the unit without forgetting the pain of 4·3.”
They looked around the headstone monument engraved with the names of the deceased and the exhibition rooms of the Jeju 4·3 Peace Memorial Hall.
numerous parties and organizations such as the Democratic Party’s Jeju Chapter (Chairperson Oh Young-hoon), the Liberty Korea Party’s Jeju Chapter (Chairperson Han Chul-yong), Righteous Future Party’s Jeju Chapter (Chairperson Jang Seong-cheol), Party for Democracy and Peace’s Jeju Chapter (Chairperson Yang Yoon-young), Korea Foundation (Chairperson Lee Geun) and Jeju Headquarter of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Chairperson Byun Dae-geun) paid a visit.