[EDITORIALS]Time to let goTomorrow marks the first anniversary of the accidental deaths of two Korean teenage girls by a U.S. Army vehicle during a military training exercise. It is natural that Koreans remember the two schoolgirls, Shim Mi-son and Shin Hyo-sun, who were killed in the tragedy. Improving the conditions that brought about the deaths of the two girls is certainly a way to sublimate their passing.
Candlelight vigils continued after their deaths, and the vigils bore some fruit, such as condolences and an apology from U.S. President George W. Bush. It is also an important development that Koreans were able to discuss their desires to improve relations with the United States, and to share their pain with neighbors. Taking such gains into account, it is time to let go of the deaths of the two girls. By doing so, their deaths will be sublimated to a valuable memories.
Tomorrow, nationwide candlelight vigils are planned. We hope that the events will be a requiem -- and nothing else. The vigils should never be distorted events with hidden political agendas. When the candlelight vigils turned into anti-American rallies last year, the South Korean government had to pay for it. The anti-American sentiment in Korea triggered anti-Korean sentiment in the United States, and eventually damaged the U.S.-South Korea alliance.
Ideological turbulence will harm the real purpose of the event. We must not repeat an unnecessary waste of our national power. A gathering of the masses always accompanies a risk that the throng can be turned into the opposite intention. Participants must remember that. Now is the time that cooperation with the international community, the Untied States in particular, is urgently needed to resolve North Korean nuclear issues.
A recent JoongAng Ilbo poll showed that Koreans’ negative views toward the United States have significantly softened compared to last year. This is a sign that Koreans are seeing U.S.-South Korea relations rationally, rather than emotionally. Tomorrow’s candlelight vigil should be the last of such events; it should be a pure memorial service of reconciliation and forgiveness.
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