Members of seven religions attend a memorial service for the 154 people who died in the tragic stampede
Leaders of various religious groups join a prayer for the victims of the Halloween stampede tragedy in the South Korean capital Seoul on Dec. 16. (Photo: CPBC)
Hundreds of members of seven major religions in South Korea joined an inter-faith memorial service to honor the victims of the tragic Itaewon Halloween stampede in October that left 154 killed.
The gathering was held at a plaza near Yongsan-gu Office and Noksapyeong Station in the capital Seoul on Dec. 16, Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC) reported on Dec. 20.
The participants of the memorial stood in silence at 06:34 pm, the time when the first distress call was made to 112, the official emergency police helpline.
Retired Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Gwangju, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Korea (CBCK) stated that the pain of the victims should not be ignored.
“I urged the government as well as society to more actively consider measures that can ease the pain even a little bit for the bereaved families along with the prayers asking for acceptance,” Archbishop Kim said during the memorial.
People laid down flowers at the venue holding papers with the words “please remember us” written on them.
The memorial also included a segment to comfort the bereaved families.
Lee Jong-cheol, father of Lee Ji-han, a victim of the disaster, shared his hope that “after today, sons and daughters will be reborn as sons and daughters of better parents in a new, better world."
As many as 100,000 people -- mostly in their teens and 20s, many wearing Halloween costumes -- had poured into Itaewon's small, winding streets, with eyewitnesses describing scant security and no crowd control.
Tens of thousands of partygoers were packed into the downhill alleyway, no more than three meters (10 feet) wide, with eyewitnesses describing scenes of chaos, as people pushed and shoved to get through, with no police in sight to guide or control the crowd.
Witnesses described being trapped in a narrow, sloping alleyway, and scrambling to get out of the suffocating crowd as people piled on top of one another.
Some 137 police officers to the event and police later stated that the number of partygoers was significantly higher than in previous years.
Local media reported that most police deployed were focused on drug use, rather than crowd control.
President Yoon Suk-yeol visited the location of the tragedy and declared a week of national mourning until Nov. 5.
Entertainment events and concerts were canceled, and flags nationwide were flown at half-mast.
Itaewon is famous for its nightlife and restaurants, and many Korean youngsters and foreign nationals visit the district for partying.
The Halloween party was the first to be organized after the nation lifted its Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and allowed public gatherings without masks.
Unequal Christians of Asian Churches is a new series of features aimed to help us see prejudice and bias that are at work in our Church. They also help us see the struggles of Catholics to live out their faith.
Such features come to you for FREE, but it cost us to produce them.
Share your comments
71.784 square kilometers of the total land area, or roughly around 14 percent, represent the combined land areas of the
In a land area of 24,702 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil districts of Warangal and
The diocese is in the northwestern part of Orissa state in the eastern India. In a land area of 9,675 square kilometers
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since...
Christ the King Cathedral in Nha Trang of south-central Vietnam adds to the jewels in a coastal...
The Church of the Visitation in Seremban relishes the treasured legacy of pioneering French...