Greetings, the family of peace. Thank you for your hard work.
I am the peace advocate of HWPL, Lee Man-hee. Truly, thank you for your hard work. Was it about 10 years ago? We stood here and called for world peace. Then, we circled the globe 32 times to carry out the work of peace. The purpose has been achieving peace. Be it family, school, or any other organization, peace is needed. Not a single person has rejected peace. Hence, I firmly believe that peace will be attained.
There are many organizations worldwide. Religious organizations should engage in peace work upholding the will of the heavens and all organizations should strive for the sole purpose of achieving peace and become one to do so.
Everyone, thank you for your endeavors. I believe that with peace across the globe, we should move toward reunification, and I also believe this is possible. This can be attained. Nothing is impossible. When we work for it, it can be done.
When there was a civil war among brothers in Korea, I fought on the front lines. Why did we have to fight? Why is it that Korea, which underwent much sorrow and was treated with deep contempt, needed to have this fratricidal war? It should not have happened. After surviving the atrocities of the war, I prayed every evening to God in heaven out of gratitude. There were soldiers from my side on one mountain, facing the mountain the enemies were on. The two sides met at the valley between the mountains and fought, but this fight was nothing.
To back up, the valley was bombarded with shells from both sides. Would any life survive this? Everyone, it was this type of brutality I came out of and that is why I prayed to God filled with gratefulness. The battle hit both sides. There needed to be people providing support on the backlines of the battlefields but also those who risked their lives to fight on the frontlines. This was a war among brothers and it resulted in our division.
All leaders, and especially true political leaders, would strive for reunification on the Korean Peninsula. The reunification. Isn’t this true? Leaders who truly cherish their countries and the people, the leaders of both Koreas should protect the two Koreas and the people. If they are truly protecting the peninsula and the people, the reunification should take place. Don’t you agree? This is true.
Why should brothers kill each other and fight in wars? Korea was long-suppressed by Japanese forces but for us to fight among ourselves? They would celebrate this. Hence, rather than fighting among ourselves, we should have the heart of righteousness, and the heart that loves the country and the people to achieve reunification. Indeed, we do. Be it the South or the North, no one would reject being reunified. Also, no one wants wars. The governing leaders who understand this will strive for reunification, reflecting the will of the people. More than anything else, reunification is the most pressing matter for Korea, and it ought to be.
Those who neglect the voice of the people and the nation to have wars are enemies. Isn’t pursuing the death of the people the acts of the enemies? Truly, when I think about what happened during the war, I am filled with memories that I do not hope to recall. When there were battles against the opponents at the valley, bombs from our side would pour down, trying to provide support. It was not just one or two artillery shells. Those from our side would rain down where we stood. Would even a clump of grass survive this? Coming out of there alive was truly a miraculous thing. How would anything survive? Maybe it could have been less painful dying then and there, but putting that aside, they were atrocities. I called for everyone to become messengers of peace whether they are young children or seniors.
I am sure you are well aware of the 40-year-long conflict in Mindanao, Philippines, which led to the death of 120,000 people. I went there in person. Who would want to go to conflict sites? Even if we go to a place where there is war, we would die only once so why not go? Our goal remained unchanged. If it was for peace, we had to go anywhere and everywhere, so we visited Mindanao as well.
This shows that when we pour our efforts into it, it can be done, so we should not worry about whether it is possible or not even before trying. If we do it, it can be done so why not work for it? After the pledge, people who fought against each other became friends. Do you know what they did? Maybe they saw it in a scripture, but these people melted a weapon to make it into a sickle and gave it to me as a souvenir. I still have that sickle today. This demonstrated their will not to have wars.
With the public gathered, I asked whether they wanted peace or war. Everyone replied they want peace and that they do not want wars. Then I asked the representatives from both sides what they think after seeing this. They said they will go toward peace. Then, I asked them to make a vow and we still have the document today. They promised to stop the war.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We are well aware of the mournful past Korea went through. Even if the divided Koreas unite as one, it still may be difficult. Thus, the two Koreas and the people should not fight against each other. With a renewed heart, we should become one under peace. When we do, the two Koreas will become one as well. Surely, there is no reason to say no to this.
I have been meaning to visit the North one day, and when I do, I plan to speak all that should be said. I will say it all, and there is no reason not to do so. I intend to ask whether they intend to bring about more casualties when countless innocent lives have been lost during the Korean War. I will ask whether they want to snuff out more lives in addition to those that were lost. If the leaders of the two Koreas cannot come to an agreement, they should take their leave and give us a day to have discussions. Our ancestors passed down this country and the people to us. This is a country our forefathers handed down to us. Why divide the peninsula and prevent people from freely traveling from one side to the other, especially when we are the same people, right? Why do this? When free movement is possible, that would be the same as being unified, isn’t it? The free movement of people! There is no reason to stop this.
What would be good politics? We should not turn brothers against brothers and make them kill each other. Hence, the reunification of the North and the South is an urgent matter. If the North Koreans are to vote on whether they want reunification or not, they would want it. If we put this to a vote in the South, everyone would want it as well. Then who is stopping this from happening? Is it not the leaders of both sides? If this is unpleasant to hear, then the two leaders should meet and strive to be one.
We should not be the people we are ashamed of or not proud of. I met heads of state across the world. We talked about many things but they would ask about the division on the Korean Peninsula. They would point out that if a third world war breaks out, it would be because of North and South Korea.
Would we have been happy to hear this? Now, we must make it known that it is in our interest to end the war and establish peace and achieve this goal. We, HWPL, should take the leading role in fulfilling this. This doesn’t have to be complex. If we yearn for peace first in homes, then schools, and society, it will be established. I firmly believe this.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope we will remember this day.
We wrote messages of peace and cessation of war and sent them across the globe ten years ago. Today we commemorate that day but let us not stop at a memorial. Let us be clothed with peace 100%. Just as we are clothed with our clothes, we must be clothed with peace. If I visit North Korea and meet the people there, I will speak what I must say because that is the right thing to do. We must not divide our nation or ideologies just for the sake of one person.
“If it were not for you two leaders, the people may unite. With freedom of movement, we will have the reunification. Then, why aren’t you talking to each other? Do you want this nation divided?” I would ask and demand answers. It is as if they do not want reunification. For the reunification, all it takes is for the two Koreas to join as one and have free travel. Wouldn’t you agree?
Ladies and Gentlemen, Elders among you would know. Think about the August 15th Liberation Day. It was so-called a day of liberation. How much did we suffer under Japanese oppression? With the end of the war, the nation was liberated. People, who were scattered across the nation, came back home after the independence to find that there was not a single grain of crop to eat. Why?
By the end of the war, they took everything from us. They did not spare a grain of crop and left absolutely nothing. With not a single grain of crop to feed on, we had rations. We had bean husks sent from China as rations. It is staggering to think about how people lived on them. During such times of poverty, the nation was liberated and families came back home but there was nothing to eat. Those present here may remember Jangchungdan Valley at that time.
There were no houses there back then. All you could find were trees. People in dire situations from all over the city would flock there with no jobs, no food, and no money. It was an unpleasant sight to see people lying around.
Kim Gu had stacked food, mostly noodles made from wheat, and built a free kitchen. I also went to that free kitchen once for noodles. If they hadn’t given out those noodles, everyone would have starved to death. That’s what it was like back then. We can still recall such a past but now that we are well-fed, we fight among ourselves? How could this make sense? This is absurd. Are we sparing our mouths for eating? We must discuss and reach an agreement. Isn’t this what we should do? This is more than possible.
Second, we can ask the people of both Koreas about the reunification, whether it be in the form of exams or others. There is no reason not to ask the people. The president must follow the will of the people, and the people must follow the president’s lead. Don’t you agree? Young children are born into this generation. What kind of nation should we give to our children? We must finish the job that we can do during our time. That is the matter at hand.
We must lay the foundation for our children to go out in the world with their heads help up and voice their opinions. We should not make them into those who cannot even voice their opinions and be ashamed. I suggest South and North Korea alike do what it takes, such as a referendum for a unified Korea, for the reunification. We must reunite first. Then, voting to choose a leader or other matters can follow. What are we worried about? This is the way to go.
HWPL first set out with the cause of peace and cessation of war, because there was a goal to reach. This goal must be achieved and completed. We must not let it end as a mere campaign. Then, let us do what we must do to attain our goal.
Traveling around the globe, I have had many talks in numerous countries and got signatures of support after every encounter. I keep every signature at my house. Everyone supported Korea’s reunification as well as our peace work. They did so. With that result, our next job is to bring the two Koreas together and to have free movement across inner Korean borders. Also, now is the time to achieve peace. Clashing and fighting against each other is for people from centuries ago. It is not for the advanced, civilized times.
Ladies and Gentlemen gathered here today, Let us not forget this day. We are a family of peace, are we not? I believe it is imperative that we put our minds together to establish a better peace, a better unified Korea. I ask that you join this cause. I have also been given orders not from this world but from the heavens.
Our impending challenge is to reunify Korea as a liberal democracy. I sincerely hope that we will work together to create a good world and leave it as a legacy for future generations. After today, we will commemorate this day again next year. For a year until then, let us strive as one to build a better society and achieve peace.
Thank you, everyone. Thank you very much.