Remember Han’s sacrificeOne of the greatest warriors of the Korean Navy lost his life in the same place he’d spent years of it - in the cold waters of the Yellow Sea. Warrant officer Han Joo-ho died this week after a doomed mission to rescue sailors from the sunken patrol ship Cheonan.
A veteran marine for special combat with 35 years of experience, Han dived into the water without hesitation because he knew that if he did not step forward, his fellow soldiers would be left in great danger.
He probably felt a great sense of duty, as the entire nation anxiously waited to learn whether the 46 young members of the Navy crew were still alive.
Befitting his nickname - “the legend of the underwater demolition team” - he made a noble sacrifice. We express our deep condolences to his family, together with all the people of this country.
Han was a true soldier. He was a brave warrior who never feared danger if he faced it for the security of the country and the safety of his comrades. Despite having passed the age of 50, the veteran was a “legendary hero” who had showed his bravery and skills fighting with pirates in Somalia last year.
As a special agent who always maintained his physical and mental capacity and fought in the most extreme conditions, Han was a role model for all young soldiers. He was also a warm father and husband at home. The government and public should let him go with the greatest honor and respect.
The Cheonan disaster is the first national catastrophe of its kind. Delays in the military investigation and in determining the cause of the incident have plunged the country into a state of confusion.
Added to anxiety over the fate of the sailors still missing in the murky waters, it is difficult to see even one step ahead right now.
It is at times like these that we must be calm. Han’s sacrifice should be viewed as a warning that we must not run about in confusion when we are faced with a crisis of this magnitude.
Many rumors and theories have cropped up in the wake of the disaster, enraging both the families of the missing crew and the public to an unprecedented level. We worry that what is already a calamity could be inflamed into a bigger one.
Now is the time for us to learn the lesson Han left us, and try to overcome this disaster with action rather than words, with cool patience rather than impulsive reaction.
Han was a proud symbol of the Korean military. He showed us that we have more than what it takes to overcome a crisis. His sacrifice must not be forgotten.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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