Brian Jon/ 10th Grade Bergen County Technical HS
Korean television program, students were asked to read about the 3.1 Independence Movement Day, but many students read it as “three-dot one.” It disheartened me to see that students did not even know about the importance of this day and their culture and identity. It led me to believe that history was not all that important.
Saturday, March 1, 1919, nearly 100 years ago, while under the colonial rule of Japan, we Koreans declared to the world that it was time for independence. Numerous countries have also held protests for independence, but these protests were not as inspiring and moving as Korea’s resistance for freedom.
The Samil Movement was important since the provisional government of the Republic of Korea was established in Shanghai and perhaps it was influential as other countries have used the Samil Movement as an influence to carry out their own protests for their struggle movement.
There were 33 national representatives that served as a control tower during the movement. It was very unfortunate that the location had to be changed from Tapgol Park, which was the intended location of the protest on March 1, to Taehwagwan.
It was said that the location of the demonstration was changed as there was betrayal among the representatives. Even with all the troubles, the majority was dedicated to the independence movement and continued to fight for their freedom.
The turning point was when the “leaders” who organized the demonstration did not show up and students and citizens took it upon themselves to lead the rally where it was recorded that 1,060,000 people were reported to have gathered and took part in the demonstration.
In the age when there was no SNS or telephone, I am very proud of how coordinated my country was since citizens were able to spread the word and take part in a monumental event in Korean history.
Japan crackdown on us was fully armed during the Samil Movement despite it being a nonviolent demonstration.
In the span of three months, there were 7,509 deaths and 47,000 arrests.
It was just because they exclaimed “long live Korea for the sake of our country....”
Many of us did not know the importance of was a day when our ancestors sacrificed their lives crying for freedom. If they held the flag with one arm and was cut, then they would hold it with the other until there was nothing left.
From an external point of view, the 3.1 Movement was an anti-Japanese movement opposed to the Japanese occupation of Korea, but the significance of this event was the emergence of a nation as the movement itself was not led by a king or a nobleman but by civilians of our country.
The 3.1 Movement, showed how much Korea as a nation was worth as it showed great potential through the record of protestors.
Exactly 100 years later, South Korea has made its place on the world’s stage being the fourth largest economy in Asia and being listed in the top 20 of the world’s largest economies, which does to show that we are living well all over the world.
Although I can’t physically hear the long cries of “Long live Korea” from our ancestors that shook the entire world, but due to their sacrifices, we now live as proud Korean citizens. We are the living proof that Korea continues to succeed.
Even though many Koreans still harbor resentment towards the Japanese and boycott Japanese goods, it is unfortunate that people only remember March First as a holiday and pronounce the movement incorrectly.
Samil Movement is not just a national holiday. It is a day of mourning and thanking our ancestors who sacrificed their lives for freedom. I hope that people will take heart to the saying, “There is no future for the people who have forgotten history” as the 100th anniversary of the Samil Movement approaches.
우리가 목숨과 바꾸며 외쳤던 그 한 마디…대한민국 만세 Brian Jon/ 10th Grade Bergen County Technical HS
삼일운동 백주년 기념 경운장학회 주최 제9회 영어 웅변대회 수상작- 2nd Place Winner
<Brian Jon/ 10th Grade Bergen County Technical HS