Sites to remember people from the pastThere is no tomb without a story or no loss of life without regret. Not everybody is remembered for a long time, but there are some people who are never forgotten.
Here are three sites where anyone can go to pay their respects to the departed. You don’t need to take anything, though many bring flowers or gifts for people they were particularly fond of.
Late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan in Yongin
One thousand visitors a day visit Kim’s final resting place in Catholic Park Cemetery in Yongin, Gyeonggi. “When the cardinal died, thousands of people waited hours to get into Myeongdong Cathedral,” said Ahn Byeong-ju, the cemetery’s manager. “The cardinal was then brought here for burial. During the official mourning period till May 5, we had 800 visitors a day.”
Visitors arrived in chartered busses from Catholic churches and over 100,000 visitors have come to the site so far since Kim was buried on Feb. 20, according to Ahn, who reports the number of visitors to the Seoul archdiocese every day.
Those coming to pay their last respects often bring flowers, which the caretakers at the cemetery replace after they have withered.
To reach the cemetery, take route No. 43 from Suwon to Gwangju. The address is 31-1 San Osan-ri, Mohyeon-myeon, Cheoin District, Yongin, Gyeonggi. For more information about directions, call (031) 334-0807.
Korail (www.korail.com) runs a train-bus package to the cemetery. For more information, call (031) 255-3402.
Choi Jin-sil in Yangpyeong
Choi was known for her bright smile and her death touched the hearts of millions when she took her own life last October. It has been eight months since she disappeared from our television screens but she still lives on in the hearts of many.
Choi’s memorial in Kapsan Park is decorated with flowers, dolls, candies, bread and postcards. There is a photo of a smiling Choi leaning on the mailbox to the left. Despite the solemnity of the place, the grave has a cute quality that is uplifting.
According to the cemetery managers at Kapsan Park, Choi still attracts about 100 visitors on weekends and 50 or so people during the week. In the visitor’s books are dozens of messages from people who never knew Choi and also from former colleagues.
To get to the park by car, take route No. 6 from central Yangpyeong to Cheongpyeong. Turn to route No. 363 and go five kilometers until a sign for Kapsan Park appears on the right. Choi’s grave is located on the ridgeline.
The address is 10-2 San Yangsuri, Yangseo-myeon, Yangpyeong County, Gyeonggi. For more information, call (031) 772-2744.
Seoul Foreigners’ Cemetery Park at Hapjeong-dong, Mapo District, was created as a foreigners’ cemetery in 1860. There are about 570 graves here for people who worked in the press, education and religious fields.
Among the best known figures buried here are Ernest Thomas Bethell, who founded Daehan Maeil Shinbo, a newspaper; Henry Gerhard Appenzeller, a Methodist missionary who helped introduce Protestant Christianity in Korea and contributed to the foundation of Paichai Educational Foundation; Douglas B. Avison, who was a founder of Severance Medical School; and Dr. Homer Hulbert, a great benefactor of Korea.
The cemetery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and accessible via Hapjeong Station, line No. 2, exit 7. The cemetery is about a 10 minutes’ walk away.