We will not forget: Ferry disaster survivors return to school amid tears, grief

Holding hands as they walked through the school gates, some fighting back tears, 75 children who survived South Korea’s worst maritime disaster in 20 years, returned to class on Wednesday vowing to remember their lost friends. Wailing parents of the 250 children who did not survive, when a ferry taking them on a school trip capsized and sank, greeted the children outside the Danwon Highschool. Some grieving parents held signs, one of which read: “We love you.”

Grownups are constantly telling us to forget and cheer up. But we will remember and recollect our friends. Because not forgetting them is what we can do at best. Just as we will remember them, please don’t forget them.

An 18-year-old student who spoke for the survivors, fighting back tears

On April 16, the Sewol ferry capsized on a routine overnight journey from Incheon, overloaded with cargo and sailing too fast. Most of the 325 students who listened to the order to stay in the cabins were trapped as the vessel sank and paid for their obedience with the lives. The 15 surviving crew members are on trial, with four including the captain charged with homicide, amid a national outcry of anger after video footage showed them fleeing the vessel as it began to list after telling passengers to stay put.

Our friends and teachers had to leave us because of irresponsible and selfish adults.

One of the students