On my way to work, I saw a group of young Koreans putting up this sign next to the subway station in Guri. The sign is part of South Korea’s Yellow Ribbon movement. Bright yellow ribbons with the message “One small step, big miracle” have spread across the country in the wake of Sewol disaster to bring hope to the grieving families who are still waiting for the return of their missing loved ones.
The movement was started by a university student organization. A yellow ribbon logo was distributed as a Kakaotalk wallpaper and shared by Kakaotalk users to remember the victims of the ferry tragedy. Later on, some students began tying yellow ribbons or strings on their backpacks. Others attached them to trees, posts and fences. Now the movement has stretched to popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Naver where different images of yellow ribbons with messages of optimism are posted, shared and used as profile pictures or cover photos. The yellow ribbon campaign has also become a symbol of solidarity among the Korean people who are praying for the return of more than 110 passengers still missing.
In Guri, passersby may also write their own messages for the victims and their families. I have yet to write my message as I can’t find the right words to express my empathy, but my heart and prayers go out to all the passengers of Sewol, as well as to the parents who have lost their children too soon. =(