To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 3.1 Independence Movement, Daegu University held a Sungsan leadership program for students to recognize the legacy of Pastor Lee Yong-Sik. While being known as the founder of Daegu University, he is considered to be an independence activist.
During World War II, Japan forcibly conscripted Koreans to build military bases and runways in Saipan and Tinian. More than 5,000 people were killed by bombing, starvation, and endemic disease. In 1977, Pastor Lee decided to take the buried victims back to where they really belonged, South Korea.
The souls of the unjust victims were successfully landed repatriated to South Korea and buried in the Manghyang Cemetery, Cheonan, Chungcheongnam-do.
On May 1st, 2019, all participants of the program departed to Manghyang Cemetery to pay respects at the site where the monument is erected. Upon arriving at the Manghyang cemetery, we watched a video showing what the cemetery is and what the monument and statues mean. Then, we headed to Hapjang Cemetery. About 19 monuments are erected there, and more than 9,000 ancestors were buried in the burial ground.
In front of all the monuments, there is an apology stone from Yoshida Seiji, who commanded the forced labor. While acknowledging all of his crimes, Yoshida said that he would ask victims to forgive him even after he dies.
All the program participants paid their respects with reverence at the monument for unknown victims of Saipan-Tinian. It was such an honor to know the hard work of the pastor Young-Sik Lee, and there should never be such a tragedy like this again.
L.L.F reporter Suk-ho Jung