KU commemorates the 58th anniversary of the April 18 KU Student Movement
Over 5,000 partake in the April 18 Student Movement Memorial Marathon and the National Salvation March
KU students offer wreaths at the April 18th Memorial
Korea University commemorated the April 18 KU Student Movement on Wednesday, its 58th anniversary.
Roughly 300 people started the commemoration by participating in the April 18th Commemorative Marathon, which commenced at 9:30 a.m. From 1 p.m., over 5,000 students began the National Salvation March (Guguk Daejangjung).
Having started from the KU Central Plaza, the students marched to the National Cemetery for the April 19th Revolution, where they paid their respects before returning back to the campus.
Also, from 10:30 a.m., a wreath laying ceremony took place at the KU April 18th Memorial. The President of Korea University Jaeho Yeom, the President of KU April Revolution Association Gyu-Jik Park, KU alumni who participated in the April 18 KU Student Movement, and President of the KU Student Association Tae-Gu Kim attended the ceremony to memorialize those who sacrificed themselves in leading the Movement.
KU President Jaeho Yeom said, “The wrath and sacrifice of KU students today 58 years ago fueled the people’s hope for democratization. Because KU was considered to be the nation’s most prestigious university that carries the spirit of the people, the KU student movement had a great impact on other students and the Korean people in general, which lead to the April 19th Revolution. KU’s traditions and philosophy so established have long contributed to its unique spirit, mind and academic characteristics. (…) The brightest minds who love their nation and people in it gathered at the KU campus, and KU taught them the value of the nation and democracy, encouraging them to stand against injustice. KU people have devoted themselves to the March 1st Movement, the June 10th Movement, and various Anti-Japanese Colonial Movements long before the April 18th Movement, and the same passion for justice and democracy appeared in campaigns against the unfair diplomatic deals between the Korean and Japanese governments in the 60s and democratization movements in the 70s and 80s, leaving significant traces in Korean modern history.” Yeom also encouraged the students to fulfill their obligations as students and citizens, saying “KU, as the nation’s leading university, now undertakes to maintain such noble traditions for liberty, justice and truth even in this century where individualism prevails, by making changes in the areas of education, research, admission and scholarships. These changes, I hope, will help KU maintain its traditions, as represented by the April 18th spirit.”
Senior Vice-President of the KU Alumni Association In Kim suggested that they all solemnly reflect on the meanings of the April 18th Movement, saying, “the greatest and the most meaningful job Korea University has ever done to the nation and its history is the April 18th Movement in 1960. It is through the Movement that the KU virtues of Liberty, Justice and Truth became the virtues of Korean society as a whole, which became the cornerstone for democratization as we now know it. The memories of the April 18th Movement will never fade in our hearts. The April 18th students’ courage is now the symbol of just minds and conscience in action. It is our job to inherit and develop their ideals.”
President of the KU April Revolution Association Gyu-Jik Park said, “I am standing here today at the April 18th Memorial. But I still remember dashing out to the street, holding placards reading “Liberty, Justice, Truth,” as is the case here and now. The very starting point of Korea’s democratization is the April 19th Revolution, and its trigger was KU’s April 18th Movement. You must be proud of that. (…) From the Revolution, the KU family has achieved an even greater harmony among the university, professors and students. I hope KU students will be proud of the traditions that have been passed on from the Movement, and to carry those traditions further into the future.”
President of Sukjuhoe (KU Student Association Presidents’ Group) In-Young Lee opened his commemorative speech, saying, “I mourn the deaths of those who sacrificed themselves for the April 18th Revolution. The April Revolution is the first citizen-led revolution ever since the Constitution was enacted. Their passion and will for democracy are truly and deeply touching for all Korean people, for the Movement has fashioned our modernity in this peninsula after a lengthy and regrettable history - the March 1st Movement under Japanese colonialism, an abrupt independence, the nation’s division into North and South, and the Korean War. (…) The April Revolution, the mother of Korea’s modernization, was the starting point of democracy. We, the KU family, always stood at the heart of the democratization as among the nation’s most courageous minds. On April 18th of 1960, KU finally made the first fracture in the autocratic regime by pushing forward the frontiers of the Revolution against injustice. Looking back, on this 58th anniversary of the April 18th Movement, I hope that the wrath against injustice and courage to stand against it will pass onto you and shine brighter.”
In concluding the commemoration, President of the KU Student Association Tae-Gu Kim read the April 18th Movement Declaration aloud, expecting that the April 18th values will remain long in the hearts of KU students of today.