However, especially these days, many people consider this day as just another day off. The focus of the day has faded. It was very hard to find the national flags of Korea hung outside people’s doors. The major highways were full of people who were leaving for a short vacation.
Last month, I went to Italy and France. One day, when I was staying at Paris, I was walking on Avenue des Champs-Elysee (the major road which has lots of shops and connects the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde). It was around 6 o’clock. I could see a ceremony going on at the Arc de Triomphe (the big arc architecture built by King Napoleon).
At the time, I did not know the meaning of the ceremony and just passed by. I googled the ceremony later and found out that beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. This originated from the burying of an unidentified solider who remained in the Pantheon on November 12, 1919.
I was shocked that the French people and government lay a wreath at the Tomb 365 days at the same time to remember just one soldier. I heard that the government carved all the names of the people who died at wars and the three big French Revolutions except the man who died in the Pantheon. This is why they continue the ceremony. They are expressing how sorry they are for not knowing even the name of the man that died for the country.
I believe this ceremony makes a huge difference in the French people’s patriotism. The government is actually saying to the people that the country will remember their names forever and make their death for the country a glorious death.
I could not help but think about Korea. There are too many people who died in the Korean War unidentified or those whose bodies are not even found yet. The government does not even know the exact number of deaths from the war. Of course this is not under the same condition, but I believe not only the government, but also the Korean citizens should consider this problem as a more serious issue to think about.
Koreans should be reminded more often that because of those people who were willing to give up their lives for the country, the Korea in 21st century could exist. The government should realize that the Independence Day ceremony should not just carry on as a “show” but should carry on with sincere and real respect to the soldiers. Also, students should be educated on the duty to remember and have respect for the war veterans who died in the war. I strongly pursue that with a small step at a time, the wrong concept about the Independence Day of Korea can be remedied.
♦The writer’s view in this section can be different from Ewha Voice’s view.