Souls of April 3 Massacre victims enshrined in Jeju 4.3 Peace ParkAfter 60 years, bereaved families were able to identify and lay to rest loved ones killed during the April 3 'Additional excavation should continue'
Kang Do Hwa never shed a tear. The 89-year-old woman had gone 60 years without being able to lay to rest the body of her husband who died during the April 3 Massacre. Due to the excavation project at Jeju International Airport, she was finally reunited with her husband. Only after the long and mournful separation came to an end did she allow herself to cry.
“I was 27, and my husband, Jin Jae Nam, was 29. I had heard that he was dragged to the Jeju airfield and was shot to death,” Kang said.
For an old woman who tolerated all those years of misery in silence, even tears were a luxury.
On March 26, the enshrinement ceremony for the excavated massacre victims was held at the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park. The event was hosted by the 4.3 Bereaved Families Committee President Hong Sung Su. The 396 victims, who were buried under the Jeju International Airport after their undeserved deaths, were finally relocated to the eternal rest. The funeral for the excavated victims began with a procession from Jeju University Medical school the March 14 and finished with enshrinement ceremony a the Jeju 4.3 Peace Park 12-days later.
The excavated bodies were found at Hwabukdong, Jeju International Airport, and Namwon-eup among other locations, through an excavation project that was started in 2006. The 48 victims who were killed during the illegal court-martial in 1949 were included. Among the 396 excavated bodies, 71 were able to be identified through DNA testing.
“I fully realize the tragedy of this history. I wish the victims who were aggrieved by being wrongly buried under the cold ground finally, after 60 years, rest in peace in the warm sunlight,” said Governor Woo Keun Min, Moon Dae Lim, chairperson of Jeju Provincial Assembly, and Jang Jung Eon, director of Jeju 4.3 Peace Institution, in a joint statement.
The bodies that have not identified yet were numbered before enshrinement so that a DNA test could be made later.
Byun Hee Chan, 73, from Hawondong, Seogwipo City was glad to comfort his dead brothers. However, the bodies of his two brothers that were excavated during this project were unable to be identified. Byun was the youngest son, and he lost all three brothers during the April 3 Massacre.
“At least I found the body of my third brother at that time. My first brother died at Jeju Airfield, and the second died at Jungmun Catholic Church,” Byun said. “Additional excavation projects and identification for 4.3 victims should continue.” (Translation by Koh Yu Kyung)
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