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Fallen seaman’s son enters Hanmin High School

Posted March. 25, 2014 05:23,   


“I take pride in the fact that my father was a patriotic solider in the Cheonan who sacrificed his life to defend the nation.”

The teenage boy, who had remained silent to questions by this reporter as stranger, articulately answered when asked about his father. Nam Jae-min, 15, whom this reporter met at Hanmin High School in Paju City, Gyeonggi Province on Sunday, is the eldest son of sergeant major late Nam Ki-hoon, one of the 46 fallen seamen at the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan. The boy’s mother Jin Yeong-shin, 39, said, “I thought his memory of losing his father at a young age would remain as a scar in his mind, and he seems to have grown up,” as she wept to see the son’s mature behavior.

Hanmin High School, which was inaugurated on March 3, is the first boarding-type private school designed for children of servicemen and women and patriots. The school fills more than 70 percent of its student quota from children of soldiers and patriots. Ji said, “If Jae-min entered an ordinary high school, he could have felt sorrow due to the loss of his father, and I feel relieved to see him leading school life in a cheerful way at Hanmin High School.”

Hanmin is a boarding school that only allows students to leave campus once a month, but Jae-min got permit for special outing on Monday. He is to join his mother and two younger siblings to visit the Daejeon National Cemetery where his father is buried, ahead of the fourth anniversary day of the Cheonan’s sinking, which falls on Wednesday. Jae-min looked manly until then, but at this segment of the interview, he mumbled, saying, “Whenever I go to the National Cemetery, I feel sad.” Ji said, “Seeing groundless rumors that the Cheonan’s sinking was not caused by the North’s attack, I feel pain all the more once again.” She went on to say, “The reality surrounding the Cheonan’s sinking by (the North’s) torpedo attack should be introduced in textbooks and the government should more actively introduce it to the public.”

“I have been always motivating Jae-min by saying that this school is for you,” said Shin Seong-cheol, the teacher in charge of Jae-min’s class. “Jae-min has always displayed commitment to working hard.” Jae-min also said, “Though I am away from my mother, I find school life enjoyable, and am having fun because I have made many new friends.” This reporter asked Jae-min, who holds level 3 black belt (3 dan) in taekwondo, what his future dream is.

“I have not decided anything specific about my future, but I want to be a person who contributes to the nation.” He lived up to expectations as a son of one of the 46 fallen heroes.