Families of Itaewon tragedy victims hold memorial service on Lunar New Year

Bereaved families of the Itaewon crowd crush victims held a joint memorial service for their loved ones Sunday, the first Lunar New Year since the deadly tragedy in the Seoul neighborhood last year.

Some 80 family members and relatives of the victims who died in the Oct. 29 crowd surge gathered at a memorial altar set up near Noksapyeong Station at 3 p.m. and paid respect.

Instead of the food typically prepared for Lunar New Year memorial services, they brought snacks, pizza, beer and beef jerky for the victims, who were mostly in their 20s.

Many of them burst out into tears as they paid respect to the victims and bowed. Some cried as they stroked the framed photos of their loved ones at the memorial altar.

"In a normal year, it would have been a jolly time for families to meet and talk. But it wasn't like that, and it won't be from now on," Lee Jong-cheol, the head of the group of the victims' families, said.

Families of the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking victims also held a memorial service in central Seoul.

"Please come together to make a safer world for our children," Kim Jong-ki, a member of the group representing the bereaved families, said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency