"We want to help thaw the frozen ties between South and North Korea through our patriotic Mugunghwa Movement activities," said Chairman Lee Jae-Gil of the International Alliance for Hibiscus Lovers (IAHL) in the recent interview with The Seoul Times.
"'Mugunghwa,' the national flower of Korean people, has long been a symbol of patriotism, Lee said. "Particularly, Mugunghwa, Rose of Sharon, or hibiscus, symbolized Korean folks' love of their lost fatherland under Japanese colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula"
A devoted patriot, Lee established his own NGO, IAHL, seven years ago in his efforts to spread the patriotism, the love of the nation, amongst younger generation of the Korean people. Lee involved himself in social patriotic movement over two decades.
Recently, Lee has been lecturing university students at such Korean universities as Yonsei University in Seoul about the importance of patriotism through Mugunhwa Movement.
"I believe that younger generation in Korea should be educated about how they love their nation before they become cosmopolitan," Lee opined. "They should love their own nation before they love the world"
Lee argued that when Korea was occupied by Imperial Japan the whole nation was in the dark and the Japanese wanted to obliterate the soul of the Korean people.
Lee went on to say that during the 35 years of Japanese colonial yoke Japan even tried to get rid of all Mugunghwa flowers from the Korean Peninsula.
"They even replaced Mungunghwa flowers with cherry blossom, which is the national flower of Japan, on the soil of Korean Peninsula," Lee went on. "They rooted out nearly all the Mugunghwa flowers from the Korean soil"
In the past two decades Lee and his members have been planting seedling of hibiscus flowers across the nation with the support of the regional governments.
On March 1, 2019, there was a ceremony in Andong City, North Gyeongsang Province, in commemoration of the first mass national movement over a century ago to regain independence from Japan.
Hundred years ago on the same day on the Korean Peninsula occupied by Japanese colonialists, nearly all the Korean folks rose up against Japanese Imperialists in so-called "March 1st Independence Movement."
In Andong some 3,000 patriotic Korean people including high-profile government officials gathered to declare Mungunghwa as the national flower of Korea officially and legally. Lee was the organizer of the event.
In the coming autumn Lee is organizing another meaningful event at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan to give thanks to the dead souls of foreign soldiers from 16 UN countries killed in the Korean War (1950-53).
Lee said that he will offer a wreath of Mugunghwa flower to the alters of the dead UN soldiers with the support of the embassies all the participants of the war.
"Mugunghwa has long been the symbol of Korean folks, who are the lovers of peace," Lee stressed. "Now I would like to begin global movement to make Mugunghwa as the symbol of world peace"
Lee said that since the truce of the Korean War, the Korean Peninsula has been power keg of world and we will also try to help thaw the hard frozen inter Korean ties.
"I will meet leaders of both Koreas for the eventual peaceful reunification of our divided North and South Korea," Lee emphasized.
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