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A Memorial Service to honor Son Byeong-hee view
A Memorial Service to honor Son Byeong-hee
Date 2008-05-19 오후 2:14:53 View 1593
A memorial service to commemorate the 86th anniversary of the death of Korean nationalist Son Byeong-hee was held in front of his grave in Seoul at 11 a.m. of May 19th.
Organized by the Chondo-gyo Central Headquarter, the memorial service was attended by nearly 100 persons including government officials and Chondo-gyo followers.

Son Byeong-hee(1861.4.8~1922.5.19) was a Korean nationalist. He was born in Cheongju, in Chungcheong province. In 1884 he heard of the Donghak religion and its ideals of supporting the nation and comforting the people, and decided to become a member.
He helped to set up a systematic underground anti-Japanese movement throughout 1918 which saw uprecedented cooperation between Cheondogyo, Christians and Buddhists as they united under a common cause. Son`s Cheondogyo gave financial support to the whole movement, and he insisted that the independence movement must be popular in nature and non-violent. A Declaration of Independence was prepared and 33 national leaders selected, 15 of which were members of Cheondogyo. Son Byong-Hi was the most prominent of these.
The climax came on March 1, 1919 when, during a period of public mourning for the recently deceased Emperor Gojong, the Declaration of Independence was publicly proclaimed at Pagoda Park in Seoul—this was known as the March 1st Movement, or Samil Movement. This spark ignited the public, who took to the streets and demonstrated, calling for Korean independence. This initiated a nationwide movement in which many people took part, regardless of locality and social status, but the Japanese immediately mobilised their police and army and brutally put down the demonstrations, despite their peaceful nature. More than 7,500 Koreans were killed, nearly 17,000 wounded, and around 47,000 arrested, including Son Byong-Hi.
While in prison, Son became ill and was eventually released from custody on sick bail. His illness worsened, however, and in 1922 he died at home in Sangchunwon.

To honor his contribution to the State, the Korean government posthumously conferred on him the Republic of Korea Medal in the Order of Merit to Naitonal Foundation.
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