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[Editorial] Taking Pride in Foundation of Korea

Posted August. 15, 2007 07:17,   


Usually, today is celebrated as the Independence Day, but at the same time, today is also National Foundation Day.

Many people do not clearly remember the fact that August 15 is the day when the first government of the Republic of Korea was established. After ending the colonial period on August 15, 1945, Korea was under U.S military rule for a while, and on May 10, 1948, South Korea held its first general election. After that, on July 17, the constitution of Korea was completed and the first government of the Republic of Korea was established on August 15.

However, many Koreans tend to forget the fact that today also has meaning as our Independence Day. One of the major reasons is the fact that Korea failed to establish a unified government. In a survey held in October 2002 among Seoul National University students, only 3.1% of the respondents thought positively of the former president of Korea Lee Seung-man, who played a vital role in founding this country. This shows that there are still some people who do not think highly of the foundation of Korea. One case in point is President Roh. He said, “Justice was non-existent and opportunism was dominant after the foundation of this country” This remark is not only a repetition of a half-baked leftist ideal, but also a denial of the great achievements in the Korean history and an insult to our patriotic forefathers.

Fifty-nine years ago, Koreans succeeded in founding a nation. However, there were barriers such as the threat of communism and abject poverty. At that time, the survival of the people was in danger, never mind prosperity. Under the difficult circumstances, it was the founders of Korea who laid the foundation of a modern nation-state.

It was the forefathers of the country who led an inferior Korean army, once compared to the U.S army, during the Revolutionary War in 1775, and achieved victory in the Korean War. It was our forefathers who paved the way for the prosperity of Korea by signing the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Agreement. The “Three Year Development Plan” of president Lee Seung-man served as a bedrock of president Park Jung-hee’s economy development plan, which ultimately played an essential role in the modernization and industrialization of Korea.

There were times when Korea had to go through difficulties, such as dictatorships and the degradation of human rights. However, there is no other country that achieved modernization and democracy within one generation. Therefore, there is no reason for Koreans to be self-deprecating and feel defeated. Also, it would not be right to compare Korean history, which overcame poverty that lasted for thousand years, to a heredity dynasty.

Next year marks the 60th anniversary of Korea, and the 17th president of Korea will take office. Social unification and dynamism is only possible when the people of a nation share the same pride in their nation’s foundation. Fortunately, according to recent surveys, more and more people are taking pride in Korea’s history. These people should elect the right person for the president and make Korea a more advanced country for the future.