Anniversary of Comfort Women Memorial Peace Garden at Fairfax County held on May 21

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On May 21, the WCCW and the Fairfax County held the one year of anniversary ceremony of Comfort Women Memorial Peace Garden at the Fairfax County Government Center. Leaders of the Korean-American Community and various leaders: Sharon Bulova (Chairman,  Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County), Mike Collins (On behalf of Congressman Gerry Connelly), Susan Lee (State Senator, MD),  Dennis Halpin (Scholar of US-Korea Institute at SAIS), Grace Han Wolf (Herndon City Council) attended  at the ceremonial anniversary.

Mike Collins attended the event on behalf of Congressman Connelly (VA-D), where he read a letter prepared by the Congressman, indicating the special position of Comfort Women compared to others inconvenienced by war as those tortured and sexually enslaved against their will for advancing of military cause and take over other lands and people. He called it atrocious. Noting the diversity of Asian-Americans in Fairfax County, and Korean-Americans’ population being one of the largest in the country, this memorial embraces and raises the profile of this issue, noting “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”

Dennis Halpin (SAIS Scholar) congratulated Fairfax County on the commemoration of the Comfort Women Memorial in coinciding with the Memorial weekend. He noted that in the U.S., there were racial slavery, and in Imperial Japan, sexual slavery. He reflected on Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s recent visit to the U.S., and his decision not to mention this issue, noting that it is not important. On Japanese scholars’ urge to move onto the twenty first century by leaving behind twentieth century, Mr. Halpin referenced President Lincoln’s quote to Congress, “Fellow Citizens, we cannot escape history.” He urged the importance of remembering President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s words when the Japanese Imperial Military attacked Pearl Harbor. Just because Japan is the U.S.’ ally right now, does not mean that past should be forgotten, nor that Japan can escape the wrongdoing of the past. Whether it is the slavery of Black-Americans before the Civil War or whether it is the Women’s rights during World War II, history exists to prevent repeats of such horrendous behaviors of humans and governments, and it should not be merely forgotten.

Sharon Bulova, as a Keynote speaker of this event, stated, “The purpose of this memorial is to commemorate the Comfort Women of World War II and draw attention to the broader issue of human trafficking occuring all over the world. I am so proud to have this statue in Fairfax County, as a community, we must be aware and speak out the history to reflect and to be remembered.”

Video about the Bogdong Kim, a Comfort Woman survivor, revealed in detail, imperial Japanese military coercion of Korean women into sexual slavery.

Goeun Kim and Garett T. K . Taketa performed the musical pieces (Silence, There You Go) and Park, Jeongsook (Director of PMKDG) danced the “Journey Together”.

On the 70th Anniversary of the World War II, it is time to end the conflicts of the past. Japan and Abe Shinzo needs to accept and admit responsibility for government and military sanctioned sexual slavery of these Asian and European women, and own up to their past. Only then, can the world move forward into the twenty-first century.



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