Put suspicions behind us

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Put suspicions behind us

The faces of the surviving crew of the Navy vessel Cheonan were sad. Some had tears in their eyes, as if they were thinking of their comrades who were lost. However, their vivid testimony recounted only the moment they sank.

Their testimony, together with the first investigation results announced by the team of military and civilian experts, washed away a large part of the suspicions that have swirled until now.

The time of the incident has been established, and eyewitness accounts that can help track down the cause have been revealed. We now know that right after the ship started to sink, the officers aboard - including Cmdr. Choi Won-il, the ship’s captain - did their best to rescue the crew members, maintaining a comparatively calm attitude.

It is time to put away our blind mistrust and irresponsible suspicions.

Everyone panics when something big happens. The Cheonan incident is the most important in Korean Navy history. Our military’s response did not go as smoothly as it would have in a movie.

However, even though they were suddenly tossed into an unexplainable catastrophe while conducting a normal, peaceful mission, the Cheonan ship soldiers acted bravely. The ship, broken in two in the strong current, was sinking faster every minute.

With their lives at stake, the Cheonan sailors tried their best to rescue their shipmates, including the seriously wounded. They proved that the Korean Navy is reliable, fully trained and its sailors care for the lives of their comrades as their own. The entire country should share their pain and console them.

Considering the surviving sailors, the sacrificed ones and their families, it’s clear what the military, the government and the public should do now.

Useless debates and political controversy only dig at the wounds of these heroes. Instead, we should completely reveal why the ship broke and sunk, and who - if anybody - took the lives of our Navy’s soldiers.

In addition, we should press the culprits to take full responsibility for their actions, no matter what. Weaknesses in security preparation should be thoroughly analyzed and solutions established.

The ability of military and government officials to counteract crises should be improved, as well. The public should be sure that a “second Cheonan incident” will never be allowed to happen. The Republic of Korea is a community we live in together, forever. Guarding the country was not just the duty of the Cheonan’s sailors. We must not let their sacrifices be in vain.
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