Roh’s family members, together with key officials of the former Roh administration, participated in the memorial ceremony in Roh’s hometown Bongha village, South Gyeongsang Province.
Ruling party officials, including ruling Grand National Party floor leader Kim Moo-sung, also showed up.
“Though I cannot suppress my grief when I remember his last days, especially last May 23, I request all to remember the path which he had chosen and the better world which he tried to achieve,” said Roh Gun-ho, the late president’s son, in his commemorative speech.
He also thanked the citizens for the 3,206 square meter grave, which was recently completed with 1 billion won in donations.
Former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan also gave a speech.
“You have long been gone but are as respected as ever,” Lee said.
“We are thus proud to be called ‘pro-Roh Moo-hyun,’ a title which will forever remind the people of your passion and sense of justice.”
Jeongtowon, a small Buddhist temple where Roh’s ashes were enshrined, also held a Buddhist ceremony.
|People take a look around the photo gallery set up along Deoksu Palace to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun. Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald|
Presently, only Kwon Yang-sook, Roh’s wife and chairwoman of the Beautiful Bongha Foundation, resides in the village, taking care of his grave and house.
The younger Roh restarted his work at LG Electronics and is presently living in San Diego.
Roh’s elder brother Gun-pyeong, who was handed a prison sentence in January for his bribery charges involving Sejong Securities, was recently moved to the Masan Prison, close to the Bongha village.
In the evening, a concert was held at Busan University.
Former Prime Minister and current Seoul mayoral candidate Han Myeong-sook, who was also one of Roh’s closest aides, sang and other officials of the Roh’s administration played in commemoration.
In Seoul, civic groups prepared a main memorial altar near Deoksu Palace, which was visited by some 8,000 guests during the weekend, according to officials.
An outdoor photo gallery was open until the evening, showing pictures of the late president.
At Seoul Plaza, there was a commemorative concert. Earlier on, Seoul City and the hosting civic group came into a conflict as the city initially rejected their access to the plaza.
While the entire country was swept in a commemorative mood, political parties remained alert about the upcoming local elections, especially in relation to the evaluation of the late liberal president.
“The achievements of the late President Roh Moo-hyun are now seen in a new light as the present administration fails to win the people’s trust,” said the spokesman of the main opposition Democratic Party.
“The coming election should become a chance to correct the regression of democracy, a value which Roh was devoted to achieving.”
Ruling party officials, on the other hand, remained discreet on the issue, as not to stimulate public sentiment.
“Only history may judge the five years of Roh’s administration,” said the spokesperson of the National Election Commission.
“We urge all parties not to distort or politically use his dying wishes.”
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)