By Clare S. Richie

The passage of time has not healed the wounds of families who lost loved ones when the Sewol Ferry capsized off the coast of South Korea in 2014. Even with the raising of the 6,800-ton ferry last month sorrow, questions, and a call for justice remain.

Civic groups advocating for those families, collectively known as “4.16 Network” are planning events to mark this somber third anniversary. The 4.16 Network media committee created a series of short documentaries dedicated to the victims and the family they left behind.

The People in Solidarity with Families of the Sewol Ferry Victims – Atlanta Chapter of 4.16 global network (aka. Sesamo) and Emory Korean Studies Program will mark the third-year memorial with a viewing of the subtitled documentary, Forgetting and Remembering 2: Reflection.

In this film, victims’ family members, survivors, volunteers, divers, artists, and mourning citizens reflect on how they still struggle to move forward with six short stories: Aboard, For Now, For Today, Sea of Flowers, 5 Antagonists of Sewol, Pause on Steps, and Touch to Remember.

The viewing will take place at Emory University’s White Hall #207 on Saturday, April 15 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and is open to the public. Admission is free and complimentary parking is available at the Oxford Road Visitor Deck and Peavine Visitor Lot.

“I’m expecting over 150 students and community members,” HK Chun, Atlanta Chapter member and Morningside resident, said.

On April 16, 2014, the Sewol Ferry sank presumably from a sharp course change that caused the portside to sink. Of the 476 passengers, only 172 survived leaving 295 confirmed dead and 9 still missing – 250 of whom were Danwon High School students on a field trip.

Details of the capsizing enraged the public, as many believed that the Coast Guard could have rescued all those on board. The government was accused of mishandling the investigation and of any meaningful work to prevent a future catastrophe.

The wreckage of the ferry was finally raised just last month and family members are hopeful the missing will be found. Network 4.16 will continue to push for an independent investigation to hold those responsible accountable and for proper safety measures to avoid future tragedies.

“We will not forget those who perished and will not stop pushing for the truth and justice,” HK Chun urged.

An expert analysis concluded that the disaster resulted from an irresponsible captain and crew who abandoned their posts and failure of the coastguard and government to respond immediately. President Park’s seven-hours of silence to the public the day of the disaster also came under fire, and is one of the reasons behind her impeachment by the South Korean parliament.

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.