President Moon Jae-in posthumously bestowed the Order of Merit for National Foundation to two patriots who supported the Korean independence movement in Hawaii on Sept. 22, the Cheong Wa Dae said.
President Moon presented the honor to the descendants of Kim No-di and Ahn Jung-song, two Korean immigrants in the U.S. confirmed to have helped the independence movement while living in Hawaii, at the Center for Korean Studies of the University of Hawaii.
This was the first time for a Korean President to present such an award while abroad to independence activists.
In 1903, 102 Koreans moved to Hawaii as Korea's first immigrants to the U.S., and later actively helped raise funds to help Korean liberation from Japanese colonial rule. The center that hosted the ceremony was the first Korean studies institute founded abroad and is the biggest of its kind in the U.S.
At the ceremony, Moon expressed his deep respect and appreciation for the two patriots for their devotion to the independence of their homeland and the education of their people.
President Moon added, “I deeply pondered their actions and noble patriotic spirit."