A Tearful Encounter

The Daegu subway arson attack cannot be forgettable; by this accident 192 people were killed, and 148 injured citizens and hundreds of bereaved families are still suffering pain.

For the purpose of comforting the bereaved families and preventing reoccurrence of this kind of tragedy, on February 18 the memorial ceremony was held on the road near the Jungang-ro station in Daegu city where the tragic arson attack had occurred. The ceremony went on for three hours from 9:30 a.m. while about 2,000 citizens were present including the bereaved families and officials from Daegu city.

The bereaved families, who had been in deep grief at the thought of their lost family members and friends, wore tearful smiles as they saw the members from the New Life Welfare Foundation doing volunteer activities together with other ten voluntary organizations that had volunteered to help the bereaved families at the Civic Center right after the tragedy last year.

At the memorial ceremony for the victims of Daegu subway tragedy, the New Life Welfare Foundation members wholeheartedly prepared snacks and meals such as coffee, tea, rice cake, boiled fish paste and so on for the attendants. They had gone to the early morning market and prepared fresh fruits as well.

After the ceremony, the bereaved families ran fast to the booth of the New Life Welfare Foundation, which was located at the back of the event place, even though they were scheduled to participate in the City Hall meeting at 1 p.m., saying, “I can’t miss seeing them.” On seeing the members, the bereaved family embraced them and cried as if they had been meeting their own dispersed family members. One middle-aged woman was choked with tears and said, “Thanks to your care and concern, I was able to live after the tragedy.” An elderly woman thanked the members for not forgetting the bereaved families and volunteering to serve them again; a woman made her farewell several times as she had to part from the members whom she met after a year . . . The members encouraged the bereaved families, holding their hands, and said, “We are rather grateful to you for accepting our small help with pleasure. Please pick yourself up and be healthy.”

The members cared for the bereaved families and consoled their wounded hearts just like a mother. The bereaved families did not leave the members until the members asked them to deliver some food to the other bereaved families who couldn’t meet them because of the City Hall meeting and promised them to keep in contact with each other.

The members also felt sorry for parting, but had to send them to the City Hall, pledging to meet again. The place where the voluntary service operated was cleaned after the ceremony, but the friendship between the members and the bereave families would be engraved more deeply on both hearts, foretelling the on-going hands of service and love.