April 16 marks the 7th year anniversary of the heartbreaking Sewol Ferry tragedy that occurred back in 2014. The tragedy shook the nation due to the gravity of the disaster and the hundreds of lives that were lost.
Every year, thousands gather in South Korea to pay their respects to the 476 lives that were abruptly taken on that day. The tragedy further broke the hearts of the nation when it was revealed that out of the 476 lives, 250 were students who were on a high school field trip.
After the disaster had occurred, many families of the victims interviewed with local news stations in order to the spread word about their lost loved ones. Due to the mass number of lives that were lost, there were difficulties in finding and identifying the victims’ bodies. The victims’ families would share their stories on national television with the hopes that they would be able to find their deceased loved ones. Out of the many stories, one particular mother previously made headlines for her heartbreaking story.
Every time they find a body, they identify the body by brands they were wearing such as Adidas, Nike, Polo…I didn’t have much money so I was never able to buy those things for my child. So I’m worried that I won’t be able to find them. That’s why I came out.”
— Mother of Sewol Ferry student
After this story was shared, a photo of a Nike bag left at the Sewol Ferry memorial began circulating online, garnering mass attention. It was revealed that a complete stranger had heard about the above mother’s heartbreaking story and decided to pay tribute with a small gift. With the Nike bag, the stranger left a short note explaining their decision in leaving the gift.
I felt like I would regret it if I didn’t leave this here. My heart broke when your mom said that she couldn’t buy you nice clothes and was worried that she wouldn’t be able to meet you again.
I don’t know if you were able to meet her (mother) yet, but hold her hand and tell her. Everything will be okay so don’t cry anymore. Also, please forgive the people.
— Stranger who left the Nike gift
This story garnered quick traction due to its heartbreaking content. Netizens began pouring out their heartbreak for the two families who found a bit of camaraderie during such tragedy.
We cannot believe that 7 years have already passed since this tragedy occurred. May the victims rest in peace.