Address by President Yoon Suk Yeol on 104th March First Independence Movement Day2023.03.01
Fellow Koreans, 7.5 million Korean compatriots overseas, decorated patriots who fought for the nation’s independence,
Today we celebrate the 104th March First Independence Movement Day.
First of all, I pay a heartfelt tribute to our fallen patriotic forefathers and patriots who sacrificed and devoted themselves to the cause of Korea’s freedom and independence.
My deepest gratitude also goes to our independence heroes and their bereaved families.
The March First Independence Movement in 1919 was a movement to build a free, democratic nation where the people are the rightful owners as stipulated in the 1919 Proclamation of Korean Independence and the Provisional Charter of the Constitution by the Korean Provisional Government.
It was a historic day. On that day our people showed to the whole world how much they yearned for change. The movement was an embodiment of their vision of the new world they dreamed of.
Today, 104 years later, we must look back to that time when we lost our national sovereignty; the time when our people suffered because we failed to properly prepare for a changing world.
We must gather our wisdom to seek ways to overcome the crises facing us: global polycrisis; North Korea’s nuclear threats and severe security environment; an increasingly fragmented and polarized society.
If we fail to read the changing trends of world history and do not properly prepare for the future, it is evident that the misfortunes of the past will be repeated.
Above all, we must remember those patriotic martyrs who gave their all for our country’s freedom and independence during the dark days when no one could ever imagine independence coming in their lifetime.
There is no future for us if we fail to rightfully remember the patriotic martyrs who devoted themselves to our homeland.
Now, a century after the March First Independence Movement, Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values with us. Today Korea and Japan cooperate on issues of security and economy. We also work together to cope with global challenges.
In particular, the trilateral cooperation among the Republic of Korea, the United States and Japan has become more important than ever to overcome the security crises including North Korea’s growing nuclear threats and global polycrisis.
We must stand in solidarity with countries that share universal values in order to contribute to promoting the freedom of global citizens and the common prosperity of all humankind.
This spirit of solidarity and cooperation is the same spirit that called for our nation’s freedom and independence 104 years ago.
The prosperity that we enjoy today is the result of our ceaseless efforts to defend and expand our freedom as well as our enduring belief in universal values. We must never stop making such effort.
It is the right way to honor the patriotic martyrs who sacrificed and dedicated themselves to the freedom and independence of our country.
Whether glorious or shameful, our history must not be forgotten. It must be remembered to protect our future and to prepare for the decades to come.
Marking the 104th anniversary of the March First Independent Movement, let us remember the patriotic heroes who devoted themselves to our homeland; and let us reflect on the unfortunate times of our history and contemplate what must be done for our future prosperity.
Let us inherit the spirit of the Proclamation of Korean Independence and build a free, peaceful, and prospering future.