Hundreds of white chrysanthemum flowers are placed in front of the No. 1 exit of Itaewon station in Yongsan-gu, Seoul at 11 a.m. on Monday. It is a space voluntarily created by citizens to pay tribute to the victims of the Halloween crowd surge in Itaewon. Mr. Seo Geon-hoon in a black suit knelt in front of it, paid a silent tribute, and made a deep bow.
Seo said he was in Itaewon for Halloween with his friends near the deadly accident on Saturday. He saw heavy crowds in a narrow alley but quickly left the area with his friends. “I was racked with guilt for having done nothing. I came here for the memorial space,” he said. “I am deeply sorry that I just left,” he said, holding his tears back.
Memorial spaces across Seoul were visited by citizens paying tribute to the victims all day on Monday. In particular, the No. 1 exit of Itaewon station, which directly leads to the site of the accident, was filled with notes of prayer, chrysanthemum, and cups filled with alcohol to pay respect.
The Seoul metropolitan government also set up a group memorial altar in Seoul Plaza in Jung-gu at 10 a.m. on Monday and decided to have it open until Saturday for the designated period of national mourning. The Yongsan-gu district office also created a group memorial altar near Noksapyeong station.
Ten or so kindergarten students visited the group memorial altar in Seoul Plaza on the morning of Monday to pay respect. “The children said they wanted to pray for the victims not to hurt anymore, so we decided to come to the altar together,” said their kindergarten teacher Ha Hye-rim. “I was also in Itaewon before the accident,” said Jihed Jemai from Tunisia. “I don’t know what to say. I want to offer my condolences to the family members of the victims going through heartbreaking times.”
Those who couldn’t visit altars posted a black and white image that says ‘PRAY FOR ITAEWON’ on social media to pay respect online.
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