Cadence Sang yu. Chung
6th grade, Monte Vista Elementary
This year we commemorate the 101st year anniversary of The March 1st Movement of 1919.
This was the first act of protest against the Imperial Japanese occupation of Korea.
On this day, close to a million Koreans participated in this nationwide massive demonstration, rallying against Japanese domination, marking the event as the first and the largest uprising. Sadly, Japanese government brutally crushed the movement, killing 7,500 and arresting 47,000.
One of organizer of the movement was a 16-year-old female student named Yoo Gwansoon, who gathered people from her village and neighboring villages to join the demonstration. Shortly after, she was arrested and tortured by the Japanese soldiers, fell ill in her prison cell and passed away at the age of 17.
The March 1st movement by far is the most important movement in Korea’s history. Even though the protest against the Japanese did not succeed, it played a crucial role in bringing the Korean people together, sparking a flame which will later help Korea gain its independence.
Japan’s control of Korea lasted additional 24 years since the March 1st Movement of 1919. At last, Korea gained its freedom and independence on August 15th, 1945 after 35 years of brutal Japanese occupation.
It is important to recognize and remember the March 1st Movement, not only of the famous activists like Yoo-Gwansoon, Ahn Joong-goon, Ahn Chang-ho, Kim Gu and Yoon Bong-gil, but of the bravery and patriotism of million ordinary Korean citizens. The citizens who stood up to the Japanese forces.
We honor them all. We will never forget their struggle to keep on fighting for freedom and independence, no matter how long it may take.