Saturday, 30 May 2009

Funeral held for former President Roh Moo-hyun

The funeral for the late ex-President Roh Moo-hyun took place at 11 a.m. Friday (May 29) inside the ancient palace of Gyeongbokgung in central Seoul.

The so-called “people's funeral” service for the late President Roh, who died on May 23 in his hometown of Bongha Village in Gimhae about 450 kilometers south of Seoul, lasted about an hour and a half, with some 2,500 invited guests in attendance.
President Lee Myung-bak, along with former Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam, lawmakers, key government officials, political and religious leaders, diplomatic delegations and funeral committee members attended the ceremony, expressing deepest condolences over former President Roh's death and to his surviving family.

For those who couldn't be inside the palace, the ceremony was shown live on large monitors across central Seoul.
During the funeral, Minister of Public Administration and Security Lee Dal-gon read a short personal history of Roh followed by funeral addresses -- one by Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and another by former premier Han Myung-sook.

"We have gathered here today to bid goodbye to former President Roh Moo-hyun, who spent his life fighting for human rights, democracy and the end of authoritarianism -- a true 'people's president' he was. We will strive to follow your last wishes on reconciliation, unity and a better nation," Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said in his memorial address. After the memorial addresses, four religious ceremonies --Buddhist, Won Buddhist, Catholic and Protestant took place. After the religious ceremonies, video clips of Roh's life were shown.Towards the end of the funeral, guests laid flowers in remembrance of Roh, including President Lee Myung-bak, First Lady Kim Yoon-ok and former Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Kim Young-sam.

After the ceremony ended, the coffin was moved to Seoul Plaza in front of the city hall, where a public mourning service was held. A large crowd -- estimates varied between two and four hundred thousand people -- turned out for the publc mourning service. About five million mourners paid their respects at some 300 altars nationwide from morning to night since Roh, who was 62, died on May 23.

By Han Aran ( Staff Writer)

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