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S. Korea to honor 100 independence fighters on Liberation Day

Aug. 14, 2023 - 10:43 By Yonhap
Two South Korean national flags are hoisted outside a building affiliated with the veterans ministry on Sunday. The flag on the right displays the autographs of independence fighters. (Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs)

South Korea will confer state medals and awards on 100 late independence fighters to honor their sacrifices in the resistance movement against Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula, the veterans ministry said Monday.

The independence fighters will be awarded with decorations posthumously Tuesday when the country commemorates the 78th anniversary of Liberation Day, according to the ministry.

Those to be awarded include Frank Earl Cranston Williams, an American missionary who supported Korean Liberation Army soldiers deployed in joint operations with British troops in India in 1943 during World War II.

Williams, who was fluent in Korean, taught English to the Koreans taking part in psychological warfare against Japanese forces in India. He previously lived in Korea for over three decades before being banished by Japan's Government-General in 1940.

He had arrived in Korea in 1908 and established a school in Gongju, 119 kilometers south of Seoul, attended by numerous independence fighters, including renowned activist Yu Gwan-sun.

Williams will be awarded with the National Foundation Medal for his efforts to support the independence movement.

Other activists to be honored include Ham Bok-ryeon, who was arrested by Japanese military police for leading an independence rally in Tongyeong, 326 km southeast of Seoul, in April 1919.

Born in 1902, Ham was a female entertainer, or gisaeng, when she participated in the independence movement with six of her colleagues.

"We will not only promote the patriots' noble lives and spirits so that they are carried on to our future generations, but also do our best to find more independence activists," Veterans Minister Park Min-shik was quoted as saying. (Yonhap)