Monday, April 26, 2010

Five days of national mourning for sailors

The South Korean Navy announced yesterday that the dead Cheonan sailors will be honored in a full Navy military funeral this Thursday, April 29. The service will be observed at the Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi.

In a separate announcement yesterday, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said that the day of the funeral service has been designated a national day of mourning, as are the four days leading up to the service.

The Navy also said mourning altars will be set up at military units and major public places across the nation. Ninety military units, including 10 Navy bases and 58 Army divisions, will host altars. There will be 16 public altars, including one in front of the Seoul City Hall and also in hometowns of the deceased sailors. The altars will remain in place until noon Thursday, the Navy said.

According to the Navy’s press release, the sailors will each be posthumously promoted by a rank. The Navy explained the move was to recognize the sailors’ “determination to protect the South Korean seas and their sacrifice for the country.” Of the 46 dead and missing sailors, 30 were noncommissioned officers and 16 were drafted soldiers.

Almost a month after it went down, the bow of the Cheonan was salvaged Saturday and brought to the Second Fleet Command for closer inspection. And South Korea’s military and civilian investigators tentatively concluded yesterday that the sinking of the naval warship Cheonan was caused by a powerful external blast at close range, and not a direct hit to the ship.

Five days of national mourning for sailors
By Yoo Jee-ho []

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