April 16th, 2018 marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic Sewol-ho ferry disaster.
For the first time, a government-sponsored special ceremony was held at the Hwarang Amusement Park in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do Province to honor the victims.
Ansan is home to Danwon High School, which lost 261 of its students and teachers.
The service was attended by around 5-thousand people, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, political party leaders, and ordinary citizens.
"As a parent myself, I feel terrible every time I come here. I came today, because it's the only time I can be with the victims."
"My eldest child is the same age as the victims. That day, I saw my son come back from school, and could not imagine what the victims' parents must have been going through. I think this is the only way we can be with the victims, so I came."
Heartbreak was visible at the ceremony, especially among the families of the victims, who, for four years, could find neither peace nor closure -- with no clear answers as to why the ferry sank or why the victims could not be saved.
"The Moon administration will always remember this tragedy. We will uncover the entire truth, learn from it, and do our best to make Korea a safe country. We will not allow the victims to have died in vain."
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"Today's ceremony holds even more meaning, because the memorial facility here in Ansan, will be pulled down after the fourth anniversary. It was a significant place that was visited by more than 720-thousand people who wanted to remember and pay their respects to the victims."
The facility will be transformed into a memorial park for the victims to be remembered forever.
And after four years, everything from photos to records will be sent to the National Archives of Korea, following the wishes of the families.
Park Hee-jun, Arirang News, Ansan.