Several people are still visiting the memorial hall established in the Gwanghwamun Square in the capital city seven years after the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry.
They hold tight hopes for the tragedy to never happen again, but several people are still hoping that a complete investigation can take place through the facts left by the tragedy. They hope for the cause of the accident to be identified and answer questions on the sloppy rescue operations as many people believe that there are more left to be examined.
But the Gwanghwamun renovation project can cause the memorial hall’s demolition, gathering criticisms from the victims’ families.
The memorial hall was established last April 2019 to remember the sea tragedy which killed 304 people who were mostly students off on a field trip in Jeju Island. The 6, 285-ton Sewol ferry met the accident on April 16, 2014 as it was navigating in the southwestern coastal waters near Jin Island in South Jeolla Province.
The bereaved families have kept a memorial altar along with other ceremonial facilities at the square before the hall was put up. They used dozens of tents from July 2014 to raise their voice for the government to hear their demand for investigation and transparency about the accident.
Before the disaster marked its fifth anniversary in 2019, the Seoul Metropolitan Government under mayor Park won-soon and the victims’ families agreed to replace the tents with a structure that will serve as a memorial altar. At the same time, it became a place for people to gain knowledge regarding the tragedy.
A group of bereaved family members, however, was informed by the city government last July 5 that the hall will be subjected to demolition, as reported by the 416 Global Network. The families were given the July 21 to 25 period to save the commemorative materials like portraits as the demolition is set to start on July 26, The Korea Times reported.
The hall’s demolition forms part of the current Gwanghwamun square reconstruction which aims to provide shape on the pedestrian paths and for traffic rerouting around the area.