The Korea Herald


Cheonan sinking marks 1st anniversary

By Song Sangho

Published : March 15, 2011 - 19:59

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South Korea plans to hold a series of commemorative events next week to mark the first anniversary of the sinking of the corvette Cheonan, which North Korea torpedoed in March last year, killing 46 sailors.

The events, which will include a memorial ceremony on March 26, the day of the tragic sinking, are aimed at honoring the deceased soldiers and enhancing security awareness among South Koreans, officials explained.

The 1,200-ton warship carrying 104 sailors sank in the West Sea near the tense inter-Korean sea border. Following the unprovoked attack, which sent peninsula tensions to a new high, the nation was gripped by deep sorrow and grief.

Another of the events will be a ceremony to offer 18 K-6 machine guns to the Navy, which were purchased with part of the money Yoon Cheong-ja, the mother of late Senior Chief Petty Officer Min Pyeong-gi, donated last June.

The ceremony is to take place at 11 a.m. next Friday on the corvette Yeongju at the Second Fleet in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

Yoon gave around 189.8 million won ($166,000) to the military, saying “Although the amount of money is small, I hope it will be used to retaliate against enemies that invade our waters and soil.”

The money was donated last June when she visited Cheong Wa Dae on the invitation of President Lee Myung-bak. Nine corvettes will be equipped with the donated machine guns, officials said.

Next Saturday, the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs will host a commemorative ceremony at Daejeon National Cemetery to honor the fallen soldiers as well as the navy diver who died during an operation to rescue soldiers in the sunken vessel.

During the event to be held at 10 a.m., each name of the 46 deceased soldiers will be called out to remember their ultimate sacrifice, officials said. Some 2,000 people including bereaved families, top military officials, politicians and government officials are expected to attend the ceremony.

The Navy has designated March 26 as a commemorative day and instructed all warships and land-based units to hoist the national flag and pay a silent tribute to the dead soldiers.

Next Sunday, the Navy will hold a ceremony to unveil a memorial tower on Bangnyeong Island to remember the 46 soldiers. On the memorial tower, there will be a “flame that will never perish” to remember Navy soldiers’ endeavors to protect the West Sea, officials said.

On March 30, the Navy plans to hold a ceremony to unveil a statue of Chief Warrant Officer Han Ju-ho, the diver who died during the search and rescue operation.

By Song Sang-ho (