One fine April day this year, a disaster stuck in Korea. The definition of “disaster” may come differently to each country, but in Korea, this was definitely one of the worst disasters in our modern history.

April 16th, a ferry sunk down in the Southern Sea of Korea – a ferry that was carrying over 470 civilian passengers and mostly high school students who were on their way for a field trip.

Long story short, in the beginning, this was not a big deal. Everyone had no doubt that this would be an easy fix. We had the system, we had the technology – at least that was what we thought. Within 24 days, the situation escalated pretty quickly. Not only the government sent out false information that all passengers were safe, it turned out that more than half of the passengers were missing.

This dreadful situation went on for weeks and weeks. No progress was made finding survivors, but only cold bodies. Everyone in the nation mourned. Even I couldn’t deal with work for a couple of days. I was physically at work, but I was too distracted watching the 24 hour broadcasting news on the internet. After a while, the state declared a “nation-wide depression”. Everyone tried to ignore and distance themselves, but the news was just all over the place. It was hard to miss.

June 2014, when all things seemed like despair, the general elections came along. Now, everyone knows how much elections bring up issues and scandals. People naturally started to turn their heads around to the election issues. Soon after the elections, there came the World Cup. Soccer is one of the favorite sports for Koreans. It was a perfect transition. People gradually started to think less about the ferry incident and started to enjoy life again. I did too. I thought about the ferry incident less and less over time.

But once in a while, the images and thoughts just pop up in your mind and you feel that guilt that you were not able to do anything for those innocent people; Teenagers who never got the chance to spread their wings; the family who never got the chance to start their new life; the elders who will never be able to see their children again. It just literally breaks my heart to know so many lives have been wasted due to the mistake of one irresponsible person. And so, I remember. I will remember them. Korea should remember them and not their lives go to waste by building a more solid system to prevent any more tragedies.

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