By Kim Hwaya
Photos = Cheong Wa Dae
A memorial service for the tenth death anniversary of former President Roh Moo-hyun was held on May 23 in Bongha Village, Roh’s hometown and burial site located in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.
Among the some 12,000 in attendance included Roh’s widow Kwon Yang-sook, first lady Kim Jung-sook and former U.S. President George W. Bush. Other high-profile government officials also came out such as National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang and Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon.
The service began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a speech from Roh’s family and a memorial video. Eulogies were given by Bush, Moon and Lee.
Bush presented a portrait of Roh he painted to the late president’s widow before starting the service. He mentioned the painting in his eulogy, saying, “I painted a kind and sympathetic man. I painted a man who respected the fundamental rights of all citizens.”
Calling Roh “a strong leader who was not afraid to speak his mind,” Bush, who served as chief executive from 2001-09, held several summits with Roh, whose term was from 2003-08.
Parliamentary speaker Moon was the next to speak, saying, “To commemorate you (Roh), each one of us will continue on like a river and make the world a better place.”
Prime Minister Lee said, “The life of former President Roh Moo-hyun was marked by continuous challenges,” adding, “We have a long way to go to make the type of world he dreamed of, but we won’t stop or revert and continue to remain awake.”
The Roh Moo-hyun Foundation also announced that approximately 21,000 people visited Bongha Village on May 23 to mark the occasion.