Last time I visited China, I took some time out of my schedule to stop by Shanghai to visit the historical site of the Korean provisional government during the Japanese occupation of Korea and the memorial hall of Patriot Ahn in Harbin, Jung-Gun. Just being able to visit the office of the Korean provisional government itself was quite a moving experience. Reading about patriots who were martyred while trying to keep the official name of the country alive, awake their people, and prepare for the country’s future through foreign diplomacy while Korea lost its sovereignty was sobering. I was especially touched when I visited the memorial hall of the Patriot Ahn, Jung-Gun in Harbin. I knew Patriot Ahn, Jung-Gun was someone great who is worthy of respect, but at the same time I had this vague idea that all those patriots who showed heroism during the Japanese occupation of Korea would have been like gangsters if they were to be born in a different era. I thought this way because of what my high school teacher once mindlessly told me long ago that had probably influenced my thoughts.
I was surprised to find out he had so many accomplishments, and I was moved by his fine character and self-sacrifice. But most of all, I was deeply touched by his faith in God. He entered into Catholic service while he was a young man and was a representative of the church. He also accompanied a French catholic priest to mission trips around Manchuria, China but launched anti-Japanese movements once the Ulsa treaty was signed by Korea and Japan.
The very first thing he did when his country lost its sovereignty was establish universities such as Sam-Heung and Don-Yui with his own personal funds because he did not want his people to lose their national sprit. And when the Japanese government started overtaking the economy of Korea, he actively took part in the ‘national debt repayment movement’ and served as the branch officer for the committee. However, when that movement was sabotaged by the Japanese, he went over to Manchuria to join the Korean liberation army. He later became the commander of the army and successfully defeated the Japanese in several battles. In short, he was an educator, a pioneer who led his people’s movement, a strategist, and a skilled military person in gunnery. He also had incredible insights in politics and foreign relations.
He was a master in calligraphy as can be seen by the few of his remaining works, but he also was a great writer and had left many writings in the form of Chinese poems and in newspaper columns. Among his writings, what caught my attention was a line regarding the ‘national debt repayment movement.’ He wrote, ‘National affairs is public and family affairs is private. If we don’t set examples, we cannot guide others.’ This line made me think about my position as the church leader.
Lastly, what touched my heart the most was the last letter he wrote to his mother. He starts out his letter to his mother with the words, ‘praise Jesus’ and writes about the pain he feels as a son who cannot fulfill his filial duty and of his faith in his letter. He asks for his mother’s forgiveness for leaving her first and asks her to have peace in her heart, for everything that happens in this world is by the will of the Lord. He also asks his mom to raise his elder son into priesthood so that his son may dedicate his life to God. And lastly, he does not forget to remind his mother and his relatives of the importance of Christian living. ‘I cannot bid my farewell in person to the older and younger generations in my family, so please deliver my message to all of them, that I wish for them to have faith in God and serve God so that we will all meet up in heaven with joy.’
Korea’s sovereignty could not been obtained without such sacrifices of people like him, and we should appreciate it deeply. I also thought that love for our country and our faithful brothers had before us is the most important inheritance and custom we must keep.
No Comments to "I got to know new things about Patriot Ahn Jung-Gun"