[THIS WEEK IN HISTORY]A week full of revenge, achievement, collapse, pleasureThe rainy morning of Oct. 21 in 1994 was a nightmare for Koreans. The Seongsu Bridge, which crosses the Han River in eastern Seoul, collapsed during rush hour, at 7:40 a.m. The fifth and sixth pillars, in the center of the bridge, gave way, sending a bus, a van and four cars into the river. The shocking incident took the lives of 32 people and injured 17 more. The bridge was done in by substandard construction work, experts later found. Choi Mi-rang, 24, who passed over the bridge just three minutes before the collapse, says, "The mere thought of the day makes me tremble with fear."
Oct. 22 is a day of accomplishments. In 1983, Heo Yeong-ho, a Korean mountaineer, summited an 8,156 meter Himalayan peak, Manaslu, in a daring solo climb. In 1981, the constitution of the fifth republic was enacted.
Oct. 23, 24 and 26 are days marked by revenge. On Oct. 23, 1996, a man employed as a bus driver murdered An Du-hee, who in 1949 assassinated a noted independence movement leader, Kim Gu. On Oct. 24, 1945, two months after regaining independence from Japanese colonial rule, the local government ordered all Japanese nationals to leave the peninsula. On Oct. 26, 1909, another independence movement fighter, An Jung-geun, killed an important Japanese politician in China's Harbin train station.
Oct. 25 is a big date for Seoulites. In 1394, the first king of the Joseon Dynasty chose Hanyang -- today's Seoul -- to be his capital. What would the king have to say about Seoul's new slogan, "Hi, Seoul?"
Oct. 27 is associated with movies and nonprofit groups. Today's big box office hit, "YMCA Baseball Team," reminds us that on Oct. 27, 1844, the Young Men's Christian Association began operating on the peninsula. Also, the Korean Red Cross was established on Oct. 27, 1949. Korea's first movie director, Na Wun-gyu, was born on the date in 1902, and 25 years later, the first Korean moving picture, "Uirijeok Gutu" (Fight With Cause), was screened at the Danseongsa theater in downtown Seoul. In 1887, Korea was pressured to sign a treaty of amity and commerce with Germany and England -- ending the period of isolation from external powers.
by Chun Su-jin