Korea's March First Movement and Some Upcoming Centennials

The March First Movement - image credit here and here
Very appropriately, today was the day I had my midterm for my course on modern Korea. I didn't even realize it until my professor mentioned what day it was - but today is March 1st, and 93 years ago in 1919, Koreans started a huge and inspiring movement that expressed their national identity and their defiance of Japanese colonialism. It was a topic that we had addressed in class just a few weeks before, and of course it was something I wrote about on my midterm.

Now, 93 years may not seem like that big an occasion, (though March 1st is always important in Korea, where it's a national holiday), but it's interesting to think about the historical centennials and bicentennials that are approaching in the next couple years. The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, for example, will take place just next month on April 15th. Then the bicentennial of America's War of 1812 will be a few months later. The events that started the First World War will see their hundred years in the summer of 2014: June 28th for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, July 28th for the opening of military action. The summer afterward will be the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, which took place on June 18th, 1815.

There are many historical events and happenings that might be commemorated on any given day, and one certainly shouldn't think about different moments only because it's been some nice, even number of years since they happened. All the same, it's funny to think that we are well into progressing our own new century now, and for those of us especially who came of age in its first decade, we should live to see quite a bit more of it. I truly look forward to seeing new heights and precedents reached in the course of our human story, and years and dates that will, for good and bad, be embedded in the conscience of future generations.

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