Events held to mark the 56th Anniversary of the 4.18 Korea University Student Movement:
4.18 Marathon, National Salvation (Gugukdaejangjung) March, and 4.18 Monument Floral Tribute Ceremony
Marking the April 18 (Monday) 4.18 Student Movement’s 56th anniversary, Korea University hosted commemorative events, including the 4.18 Marathon, 4.18 National Salvation March, and Floral Tribute Ceremony.
The 4.18 Korea University Student Movement refers to April 18, 1960, when more than 3,000 Korea University students peacefully assembled in front of the National Assembly to protest the Rhee Syngman government’s fraudulent election. This in turn became the fuse that ignited the Democratization Revolution the following day. On that day, upon finishing their protest at the National Assembly, returning Korea University students were attacked by thugs of the anticommunist Young Men’s Association. The next day, after news of this spread through the media, enraged students and civilians took to the streets in nationwide protests that flared into the 4.19 Democratization Revolution.
Korea University annually hosts various events to commemorate the 4.18 Movement that became the fuse for the 4.19 Democratization Revolution, On this morning at 9:30, the 4.18 Marathon, which was open not only to Korea University students but to the public as well, commenced, followed at 1:00 PM by the 4.18 commemorative National Salvation March with over 5,000 enrolled students participating. Participants started from the Korea University Central Square and, after paying respects at the National 4.19 Democratic Cemetery, returned to Korea University.
At 10:30 AM there was a floral tribute ceremony in front of the Korea University 4.18 Monument. Flowers were laid by representatives, including Korea University President Jaeho Yeom, KU Alumni Association President Hak Soo Lee, 4.18 Democratization Movement Commemorative Business President Myun Joong Kim, Sukju (KU Student President’s Association) President Byung Sun Lee, Faculty Council Vice President Chang Sub Shin (standing in for President Jung Goo Lee), Staff Labor Union President Sang Jo Lee, and KU Student Union President Se Hoon Park. Alumni who participated in the actual 4.18 Korea University Student Movement stood together in remembrance of the significance of the 4.18 Student Movement
“The 4.18 Student Movement was an event that clearly displayed students imbued with the spirit of liberty, justice, and truth coming together as one and thrusting through the front gate and beyond to demonstrate the duty and role Korea University students must assume and perform in the Republic of Korea,” KU President Yeom said, adding that “the brave stance to go up against injustice, denounce corruption, and forbid deceit is even more necessary in today’s uncertain times.” Concluding, he emphasized, “Korea University, which has stood at the forefront of liberty, justice, and truth, will continue to fulfill our historic calling and responsibilities beyond today and continue onwards far into the future.
KU Alumni Association President Hak Soo Lee extolled, “The 4.19 Revolution, the first democratic revolution in our post-independence history, was sparked by the 4.18 Korea University Student Movement and burst into irrepressible flames. Through the 4.18 Movement, Korea’s democratization advanced and the stature of Korea University heightened even more within Korean society.” He also stated that “with the 56th Anniversary of the 4.18 Movement, my hope is that once again the April spirit vibrates within the heart of each and every Korea University member and that the stature of Korea University rises ever higher.
The 4.18 Democratization Movement Commemorative Business President Myun Joong Kim, observed that the Daegu 2.28 Movement, Daejeon 3.8 Movement, and Gwangju Masan 3.15 Student Protest were the origins for the 4.18 Movement. In turn, the 4.18 Movement became the detonator and fuse for the 4.19 Revolution the next day. He continued by saying that “by launching the Democratization Movement Commemorative Business at this time, I wanted to invite the 4.19 comrades from all over the country to collaborate with those involved to develop the 4.18 Movement into a pan-4.19 event.”
Byung Sun Lee, President of the Sukju Club, a gathering of all past Student Government Association presidents, noted that “56 years ago and throughout the many years that followed, many senior alumni before us had to shed blood and sweat to justly erect democracy. Thanks to those historic sacrifices we are now enjoying the privileges of a time where power and authority is judged by a democratic process termed election. Democracy is in no way provided freely. History teaches us that it must be cultivated with earnest dedication.” He added, “On this 56th anniversary of the 4.18 Student Movement I wish to share this lesson with all those present.”