[전주대 신문 제905호 14면, 발행일 : 2020년 12월 2일(수)]
It is the day of patriotic martyrs on November 17. National Patriotic Martyr’s Day is a legal anniversary established to cherish the spirit of independence and to commemorate the sacrifice of patriots who dedicated themselves to the restoration of national sovereignty. On November 21, 1939, the 31st extraordinary general meeting of the Provisional Assembly of the Republic of Korea, which was the center of the Korean independence movement, established the day of November 17th as a memorial day for the patriotic martyrs of the country. The motion was suggested by six Assembly members, including Ji Cheong-cheon and Cha Yi-seok.
Patriotic Martyr’s Day was celebrated under the supervision of the Provisional Government until the Liberation in 1945. It was included in the Memorial Day memorial service organized by civilian organizations from 1946. The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs held the event from 1962 to 1969, and then it was handed over to the civilian organizations from 1970 to 1996. However, the long-cherished desire of the bereaved families of independence fighters made it restored as a government anniversary on May 9, 1997, and a government-sponsored event has been held since 1997. The anniversary event is organized by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, and is usually held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, attended by more than 2,000 people, including surviving patriots and bereaved families, key figures from constitutional institutions, representatives from all walks of life, government officials and students.
Ryu Gwan-sun and An Jung-geun, both known to all Koreans, are patriotic martyrs. Ryu resisted with her bare hands, and An fought with a gun. Who else suffered the patriotic martyrdom? Nam Ja-hyeon was married at the age of 19, but, six years later, lost her husband who participated in the revolt of the Eulmi Righteous Armies. When the March 1st Independence Movement took place in 1919, she took her son to Manchuria and devoted herself to the restoration of her homeland for 14 years, thinking that the only way to avenge her husband was to save the country from the Japanese imperialism. She was called the mother of the Independence Army. She worked with Ahn Chang-ho and many other independence activists. She not only carefully cared for young patriots who suffered from illness and wounds during the anti-Japanese movement like a mother, but also established twelve churches in rural North Manchuria and ten women’s education associations for women’s enlightenment. Upon hearing the news that the International Federation Ritten Investigation Team was dispatched to Harbin, she cut her finger and wrote “We want Korean Independence” in blood to show her firm commitment to independence. She delivered it to the investigation team with a cut finger. She joined the plan to assassinate the Japanese ambassador. She disguised herself as a beggar and carried a pistol, bullets, and bombs when she was caught by a Japanese detective who followed her while passing Harbin. She was detained in a Japanese consulate detention center for six months. Later, she went on a hunger strike in prison, and was released on bail due to her poor health caused by severe torture and prison life. She eventually died, leaving these words: “Independence is done in the spirit.”
Yun Hui-sun was one of the first female participants of the righteous army movement from Eulmi to Jeongmi. When his father-in-law became the leader of the righteous army during the Eulmi Incident in 1905, she provided clothes and food to the soldiers, saying, “Even if I am a woman, there is no distinction between men and women in saving the country.” She also encouraged women to participate in the movement by writing a narrative poem, “Song of the Righteous Army Wife.” In 1907, the year of Jeongmi, the Japanese disbanded the Korean army and forced Emperor Gojong to abdicate. The righteous armies became active once again. While collecting military funds to help the righteous army, she made gunpowder and ammunition with other women, participated in military training, and organized women’s righteous army. When the country was annexed to Japan in 1910, she moved to China with her family. There she founded Rohakdang, a branch school of Dongchang, and trained about fifty anti-Japanese independence activists. Later, when his eldest son was arrested by the Japanese military and tortured to death, Yun Hui-sun also died. It was 11 days after his eldest son died.
Many of our ancestors participated in the independence movement in their own ways for the independence of their homeland. However, I should express my regret because I know only a few of them and a little about their stories. Let us study more about the noble sacrifices of our heroes, living and breathing in history, on the day of patriotic martyrs on November 17th.
By Park Jeonghyeon, Reporter
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