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March 1, 2019 – 100th Anniversary of the March 1st Korean Independence Movement

It is with a deep sense of reverence that I commemorate, with you, the 100th Anniversary of the March 1st Korean Independence Movement.

The March 1st Movement, known in Korea as the Sam-Il Movement (삼일 운동) was one of the first demonstrations of Korean resistance against the Japanese occupation of Korea, which began in 1910.

 

On March 1st, 1919, a number of student-activists gathered at the Taehwagwan Restaurant in the City of Seoul and read out the Korean Declaration of Independence. At the same time that day, thousands of protestors gathered at the Pagoda Park in Seoul and formed processions toward notable landmarks across the City. These demonstrations, along with readings of the Declaration of Independence in other Korean cities on the same day, sparked a widespread national movement. In the next 3 months, 2 million Koreans had participated in protests and demonstrations against Japanese rule, with several thousand protestors murdered by the occupying police force and the military.

 

Although Korea failed to gain independence from the March 1st Movement, the events acted as a catalyst for the formation of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea based in Shanghai. Korea became a fully independent nation in 1945.

 

As Canadian Koreans across the country commemorate this occasion, it is important for us to remember the lessons of history and uphold the values Canadians hold dear – peace, freedom, democracy and respect.  In so doing, we will develop a deeper understanding of our duty and responsibility to our fellow man to ensure that we live in peace and harmony.

 

This is a day we solemnly acknowledge that we must work toward a more just and tolerant future for all mankind.