After the body of Senior Chief Petty Officer Nam Ki-hoon, a serviceman who was aboard the sunken naval vessel Cheonan, was recovered Saturday, the families of the 45 other missing crewmen asked that the Navy stop searching for survivors. The decision came after the deaths of a senior naval diver and the crewmen of a private fishing boat that participated in the rescue operations. The families did not want others to risk their lives to save the missing, allowing the next phase of salvaging the sunken ship to proceed.
Saturday, the eighth day after the Cheonan sank, was a day of despair and pain for the families of the missing. Those who held on to the slim belief of a miracle seemed to give up hope after Nams body was confirmed. How can their pain and sorrow be consoled?
The funeral for Han Joo-ho, the naval diver who died searching for the missing crewmen, was held the same day Nams death was confirmed. More than 10,000 mourners attended the ceremony amid a military song echoing at his mortuary and naval bases across the country.
The soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country are Koreas true heroes. The nation and people should never forget their precious sacrifices.
The missing sailors locked in the sunken ship served their country in the prime of their lives, ranging from their late teens to their early 20s. Despite their families hope of their safe return, no answer has been heard from the pitch-dark seawater. The stories of their families are heartbreaking. The mother of one of the missing soldiers had a letter to her son returned to her unopened, while a father of another celebrated his sons birthday Friday at the 2nd Naval Fleet Command. The wife of a missing servicemen received news Thursday that her husband was promoted while underwater.
Tales of the crewmen of the Cheonan helping other people have also stirred emotion in Korea. They collected money to help destitute children and repaired a home for elderly citizens in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province. The naval song sung by the 47 soldiers ring in the publics ears. Solidifying national security is the way to ensure that they did not die in vain.