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Unsung pioneer

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By Choe Chong-dae

We have fond memories of "Graduation Song."

"We present a beautiful bouquet to our seniors who have earned shining diplomas. We will study hard with the books you passed down to us. We will follow you, our respected seniors. Good bye, dear juniors, our beloved classroom and honored teachers! We are leaving."

This was composed by Cheong Soon-cheol. We sang this tune at elementary graduation ceremonies many decades ago.

Cheong devoted his life to advocating the Korean children's welfare movement during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial period. He composed children's songs when remnants of Korea's feudal society treated children very strictly. Cheong's compassion for Korean children stemmed from his love of his nation which was suffering miserably under Japanese oppression. Cheong was born in 1901 in Okcheon County, South Chungcheong Province. He endured many hardships as a child which shaped his resolve to promote children's welfare.

Cheong's enthusiastic interest in the children's welfare........

© The Korea Times