Sunday, August 16, 2009

Independence Day

Friday morning the photos went up. The train station occasionally has photos on display; an odd little display of Asan City related events. Pictures of the natural spas, the former president who hails from our little city, and other paraphernalia that surrounds small town culture around the world finds a place in the hallway of the train station.

Friday's photos were different. A black and white well aged photo of a very sad older woman graced the end of the hallway. Then there were the four emaciated teenage boys. The picture of the two criminals being taken away in chains with wooden buckets over their heads so the townspeople couldn't identify them. The one of the convicts on trial before a royal Japanese court. A hanging head, the body severed, hung on display to warn others of the cost of rebellion. The naked young women forced into prostitution by the ruling colonizers. The piles of dead young men, who had fought for freedom moments before this picture was taken. These were the snapshots chosen to celebrate the Korean Independence day, which was Saturday. The photos were taken down by Saturday evening.

No parades graced the streets; fireworks noticeably absent. Only sad memories and grateful appreciation for the right of self governance. Only a few waving flags and this small photo display to mark the day of Independence. Only a day, a Saturday, no school holiday this year to mark the event. Only a few photos of the brave to celebrate.

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