Korean Americans Mark ‘Samiljeol’

The Korean Independence Movement Day celebration in New York (Photo via The New York Ilbo)

“Let’s unify public opinion with the spirit of independence.”

Korean Americans in New York and New Jersey celebrated the 98th anniversary of Samiljeol [Independence Movement Day in Korea, a day which commemorates the nation’s resistance to Japanese rule sparked by demonstrations on March 1, 1919.] at the Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY) and the Korean Community Center of New Jersey. They pledged to overcome the recent crisis in South Korea with the spirit of Samiljeol.

A celebration in New York

On March 1, 150 Korean American guests, including the president of KAAGNY, Minsun Kim, the consul general to New York Republic of Korea, Gheewhan Kim, and New York City Council member Peter Koo, celebrated and honored independence patriots. (…)

The acting president, Gyoan Hwang, sent a congratulatory message and New York Consul General Gheehwan Kim read on his behalf: “We will maintain a firm security stance against North Korea’s provocations. At the same time, we will strongly urge North Korea to abandon the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Based on the solid Republic of Korea–U.S. combined defense, we will punish any provocations and threats by North Korea.” He also mentioned the relationship between Japan and South Korea. “The correct historical view and educating the future generation with the correct history are starting points and a necessary condition for a positive relationship between two countries,” he said. (…)

Hwang also spoke about the impeachment of President Park in South Korea. He added: “Now, unity and integration are needed more than anything. It is necessary to acknowledge each other’s diversity on the basis of respecting the spirit of the Constitution, and to make efforts for harmony and balance.”

Minsun Kim, the president of KAAGNY, honored the patriotic martyrs of the country. She emphasized: “KAAGNY is an organization that was founded by the people who tried their best for South Korea’s independence.”


The Korean Independence Movement Day celebration in New Jersey. (Photo via The new York Ilbo)

A celebration in New Jersey

The Korean-American Association of New Jersey held a commemorative event for the 98th anniversary of Samiljeol on March 1. (…) On that day, 120 Korean Americans and local politicians participated the event.

Eunrim Park, the president of the Korean-American Association of New Jersey, said: “”I am sad and frustrated when I see the confusing situation of my home country. We should solve this difficult problem through the independence day spirit. Let’s keep our national spirit in America.” In New Jersey, the deputy consul general Kihwan Kwon read a congratulatory message sent by Gyoan Hwang.


Michael Yun, who is going to run for a municipal election in Jersey City, said: “Samiljeol is the spirit of independence. Korean Americans should develop the spirit and achieve political development in the U.S.” He got a round of applause.

A descendant of an independence patriot, Hera Jang, told the story of her grandfather who belonged to the Independence Army. She said: “South Korea is now living well because of the independence patriots. Let’s maintain their intentions and make a better country.” (…)

The event continued with a speech about “the significance of Samiljeol” by Rev. Cheolwoo Jang, a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Hyungyung Kim and Jesun Lee, directors of the Korean Community Center of New Jersey, and the singing in unison of the Samiljeol song. The event ended with participants cheering “Hurray for South Korea” three times.

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