At first, I was relieved by the news since it reported that there has been no loss of life. However, as the time went by, I started to realize that something was seriously wrong.
Sewol Ferry carried 475 passengers from Incheon to Jeju Island, sank on Wednesday morning off the southwest coast, leaving 269 dead and 35 missing. It is one of the biggest disasters in Korea next to Sampung Department Store collapse occurred in 1994.
Almost one month passed after the tragedy broke out. The aftermath hit the whole nation. Generally, May is filled with numerous festivals and concerts, but most of them were delayed or cancelled due to the tragic accident of Sewol Ferry. No entertainment program was on the air, substituted with news reports providing information on the progress.
Watching the disaster, I felt sense of guilt mixed with fear. Most of the victims were high school students on the trip, who did no wrong but only followed the given instructions. Numerous possibilities of conspiracies are surfacing through media. Nevertheless, it is most important for us not to forget this tragedy. We should face the bitter reality and remember the innocent lives lost in the sea. Through those efforts, no mistakes would be repeated which guarantees better future for all of us.
I will not be able to greet my birthday with total happiness like I did in the past. I could never forget the sorrowful cries that came from the parents who lost their children, or angryful voices asking for the cause of the tragedy. It is the most trivial, but fundamental responsibility that I should follow as the citizen of South Korea.
As this well-known memorial poem indicates, I hope that every victim of Sewol tragedy could rest in peace.
Do not stand at my grave and weep / I am not there / I do not sleep / I am a thousand winds that blow / Do not stand at my grave and cry / I am not there / I did not die.