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“I was married to my wife, but we didn’t have a roadmap” for the relationship and it was starting to get tough, he said. Going to Rev. Moon’s blessing ceremony in 2005 “was the saving grace for our marriage,” he said, and after they head that Rev. Moon passed away in Korea on Monday Sept. 3, “our family felt that one of us needed to come” to the ceremony.

The estimated 1,500 Americans who have come to Korea for the ceremony include 200 members of the Generation Peace Academy, an international service and education group for young adults in the Unification Church.

August Lindsay, 20, is one of the many “second-generation” Unificationists and Generation Peace Academy members who flew in this week.

“I wouldn’t be alive without him,” said Mr. Lindsay, noting that his parents were introduced to each other and married by Rev. Moon 30 years ago. Attending the seonghwa service means “I can connect to him,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to joining the Air Force after he completes his current service project.

“I definitely wanted to come” to Korea, said Marisa Melchiorre, 18, who lives in Massachusetts with her Italian father and American mother, who were also matched and married by Rev. Moon.

“Yes, I met Rev. Moon,” Miss Melchiorre said shyly, as she sat in one of the crowded buildings reserved for overnight guests for the ceremony near the stadium.

“He’s a very earthly person, a real man,” she recalled. “And he has a heart so full of love — when you meet him, you can tell he wants to give to others. I think he’s a peace king.”