KU Holds Commemorative Events to Mark the 57th Anniversary of the April 18 KU Student Movement
The events include April 18 Student Movement Memorial Marathon, National Salvation March, and a floral tribute at the April 18th Memorial.
On April 18, Korea University held commemorative events in the morning and afternoon sessions to mark the 57th anniversary of the April 18 KU Student Movement.
The first event, the April 18 Student Movement Memorial Marathon, began at 9:30 a.m. with approximately 300 participants. The National Salvation March, which shared the same theme as the marathon, started at 1 p.m. with about 5,000 students who were not bothered by the rainy weather. The marchers started from the KU’s Central Plaza and visited the National Cemetery for the April 19th Revolution to pay their respects before coming back to the university.
A floral tribute ceremony took place at 10:30 a.m. that morning in front of the KU April 18th Memorial. The ceremony was attended by KU President Jaeho Yeom, President of the KU Alumni Association Hak-su Lee, President of the KU April Revolution Association Gyu-jik Park, President of the KU Student Association Seung-jun Lee, and alumni members who actually joined the Movement. They all solemnly gathered in front of the memorial and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the movement.
At the ceremony, President Yeom said, “During the April 18 Student Movement, KU students were true pioneers. In the midst of chaos that had formed since the Liberation, the National Foundation and the Korean War, no one dared to pursue the spirit of democracy. KU students were so brave that they united and started marching from the front gate to the National Assembly. The spirit they showed that day resonated with civilians and ultimately led to historical changes. In fact, the KU’s pioneer spirit has always been there throughout the nation’s history. During the Japanese colonial era, it was realized as the spirit of independence. After the liberation, it manifested itself as the spirit of democratization in terms of politics, while it was the driver behind the industrialization in the field of economics. To meet the needs of the times, it was quick to change the forms, but without losing the fundamentals. I believe the April 18 Student Movement was the manifestation of the KU’s pioneer spirit in 1960. The students put the nation and national people before themselves and sacrificed their lives to realize the motto of Korea University; Liberty, Justice, and Truth.” He continued, “What we should learn from the movement is their courage to take action. To bid farewell to old customs and open a new chapter in the history, the courage to take action is required. Without courage, we tend to act like a third person that is not directly involved. The pioneering spirit and courage that KU students showed at the time have become the stepping stone for us to further develop our dream and ideals in modern days. This is why we should remember the April 18 Student Movement and commemorate it every year.”
President of the KU Alumni Association Lee added more emphasis on the significance of the student movement by saying, “It would not be an exaggeration if I say that April 18th, 1960 was the most remarkable day in the 112-year history of Korea University. The April 18 Student Movement infused the KU’s motto – Liberty, Justice, and Truth – into Korean society, blazing a trail for the nation to become a genuinely democratic country. The spirit and courage that KU students had are still alive in our minds like an active volcano that never goes dormant.”
President of the KU April Revolution Association Park reiterated the importance of the student movement and his commitment to inherit the noble spirit, “Those who stood at the forefront during the movement are now in their 80s with gray hair. To keep the memories of the movement more vivid, we founded the KU April Revolution Association in 2009. As one of senior members who participated in the movement, I will do my best to inherit the traditional spirit and remember the historical significance of the movement.”
This year’s ceremony was all the more meaningful as the President of the KU Student Association Seung-jun Lee read aloud the declaration that was actually written and read by KU students 57 years ago. By reading the declaration at the end of the ceremony, participants hoped that the event offered an opportunity for everyone to succeed to the April 18 spirit and continue the tradition.