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A standing-room audience gathered in the Reedley Armory building on March 2 to celebrate the centennial commemoration of the March 1 Korean Independent Movement. On March 1, 1919, the first demonstrations were held as Korea began efforts to gain independence from Japan.

A boys and girls choir performed traditional Korean songs during the ceremony.

 

 

 

 

The Reedley Armory building was packed to full capacity on the morning of March 2. 

Hundreds of Koreans along with Korean Americans — and even those not of Korean descent —from around the Central Valley including Reedley, Dinuba, and other surrounding cities filled the Armory Hall to celebrate the centennial commemoration of the March 1 Korean Independent Movement. 

“This is the March 1 independence celebration,” said Ralph Urbano, a Vietnam veteran and Armory staff member. “We were going to hold it outdoors but because of the rain, they approached us and we were glad to let them use the hall.”

The event also included musical performances, an awards ceremony as well as several visits to honor historic Korean memorials here in the Central Valley. 

“There are also different speakers here today,” Urbano added. “They’re here to kick off the ceremony and they had the Korean and the American National Anthems, as well as the Chanting of the March 1 Independence Movement Song.”

Urbano is not of Korean descent, but said the event holds near to him for several reasons. 

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