Letter From the Editor: Remembering Sewol, and the Sewol Memorial Forest

Hello moonROK readers,

As many of you know, this April 16 marks one year since the Sewol Ferry disaster in Korea tragically took the lives of 304 people, most of them high school students heading to Jeju Island on a field trip.

Out of respect for the lives that were too early taken, the families and friends that were left behind to mourn, and the Republic of Korea and its grieving citizens, moonROK will not be posting the news tonight. 

Rather than informing you about new album releases, idol updates, or any of our other usual news stories, tonight we would instead like to inform you about the Sewol Memorial Forest. On April 10, the families of the Sewol Ferry victims and the Audrey Hepburn Society charity organization came together to plant the first tree in what will soon become 4.16km forest that will stand in remembrance of the victims. The forest is being planted on the island of Jindo, the closest island to the site of the disaster. 

Shaun Hepburn Ferrer, chair of the Audrey Hepburn Society stated, A year has passed and instead of sending flowers to the families, we wish to create something beautiful… We want to create a platform that will bring some feelings of hope and comfort.” Thus, all of the trees planted in the forest will be Ginko trees, as Ginko tree flowers bloom bright yellow in the fall season, reminiscent of the symbolic yellow ribbon that became an icon of hope and remembrance for all during and after the tragedy last year.

A monument engraved with the names of the victims and those of the forest’s donors will also be erected in the middle of the forest, as shown in the mock-up above.

The Sewol Memorial Forest is asking for donations in two forms. The first way you can donate is to give money to plant more trees. The minimum donation amount is just 10,000 KRW (about $9 USD), and as of 10pm EST, nearly $55,000 USD has been raised by less than 1000 people. In order to donate, all you have to do is visit the Tree Planet website, where you can write your name, donation amount, and a short message to accompany your donation. Unfortunately, to donate you must have a Korean bank account, so if you do not, we recommend participating in the second form of donation.

The second way that you can participate is by raising awareness of the Sewol Memorial Forest on your social networking profile pages. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or anything else, we hope that you will consider uploading a post about the memorial project using the hashtags #세월호기억의숲 and #SEWOLFOREST in order to raise awareness and encourage donations for the Sewol Memorial Forest.

We sincerely hope that you will consider helping to raise awareness for this beautiful cause, even if it’s just by retweeting or reposting our original moonROK post with the hashtag. The forest that will be erected as a result of your efforts will stand for hundreds of years as a monument to and a symbol of the lives that were lost that day.

Thank you for your consideration in donating to the Sewol Memorial Forest and for your patience with moonROK as we abstain from posting tonight. All updates from tonight will be published tomorrow morning, when moonROK will resume our normal news reporting.

As always, we very much appreciate your support for moonROK, but tonight we ask that you support a greater cause.

Thank you again, and always remember 2014.4.16.



Hannah Waitt
moonROK Media

Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Images courtesy of the Sewol Memorial Forest
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