Mountain Day, 2010: Fifty Years After the April Revolution
Above a parking lot full of busses, chicken tents and beer, swarms of Donggukins made their way across Namsan on a bright April morning. Mountain Day, 2010. The week before was freezing, the week after equally cold, the day itself a rare bit of sun in an otherwise freak Spring chill. The year snow brought down the blossoms: white to match their cherry magnolia white.
It started with waiting, and cuing to cue. Frisbee broke out with some of the foreign instructors while professors exchanged courtesies. Students chatted, clicked photos, and checked out their classmates in hiking gear. Teams logged and lined up, receiving yellow raffle tickets for a draw and at some point everyone picked through their bag of treats: a banana, chocolates and candy.
The hike was a mild affair. We shuffled two or three kilometers up a well-maintained path and then cut down a side trail leading past an old burial mound. Most of us traveled in departmental teams, though some went ahead in fitter units aiming for prizes. The winners enjoyed a lump sum of cash, while the rest of us were content with the talent show and food back in the parking lot.
Mountain Day may seem on the surface to be a kind of Spring cleaning of school spirit, a simple day out of the normal routine to walk and talk together, eat, laugh and smile. However, it is actually a day of commemoration for what’s known as the April Revolution, which was an important step in the Republic of Korea’s movement toward democracy. The Revolution was a successful student and labor protest against corruption in the government of President Rhee Syng-man and vice-president Lee Ki-poong following a non-democratic ‘election’ in March of 1960. There were violent rallies and student protesters were killed by police, some outside the Blue House in Seoul after marching from one of various university campuses in the city.
Given the gravity of the April Revolution and its importance on the Nation’s democratic progress, Dongguk University began a commemoration hike the following year. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution.
J.Angus MacCaul 외국어 전임교원
동대신문 경주캠 firstname.lastname@example.org