Saturday, September 4, 2010

Korean War Memorial

I visited the Korean War Memorial alone on a Sunday afternoon.  It was a nice visit and I think whether you are a history buff or not, you'd like it.

A very quick history:  Korea had been ruled by Japan since 1910 and surrendered in 1945 at the end of World War II.  After dividing the nation at the 38th parallel, the United States occupied the southern half of the peninsula and the Soviet Union occupied the North.  Although there were talks of unification, the North established a communist government and tensions on the peninsula intensified.  On June 25, 1950, the North invaded South Korea and the Korean War began.  The War lasted until July 27, 1953 when an armistice was signed.  Korea remains a divided nation.

The photo above is a monument of "Two Brothers."  Two brothers are standing on a cracked dome, symbolizing their torn nation.  They meet together in the middle to embrace one another in a moment of love, forgiveness, and sorrow.
The outside had a significant collection of things used in the War.  There were so many things from the United States, it really gave me a sense of how much the U.S. was involved in the War.
You could step into many of the things, including the tanks.  There were many children running around having a good time.  I can imagine my nieces and nephews would have had a good time playing around on the machinery.
Probably the only sign in the place that didn't have an English translation was the American B52.  An older  Korean man, who didn't speak English was trying to explain the sign to me.  I didn't understand what he was exactly saying...but it seemed to me that he really appreciated the help my country gave his country in their time of need.  It's kind of hard to explain, but it was a really nice moment for me.  It doesn't happen much that I see positive thoughts about our country and it gave me some hope that yes, despite some of the horrific things we have done for so many people...there is a lot of good we've done too.
You could even go inside a lot of the planes.  This is obviously a medic plane.
Some mannequins ready to jump!
You could go behind the tanks and go inside.  Pretty cool.
Oh no, under repair!  Looks like you can put in 500 won and it give you a little show.
This was a pretty neat monument.
There was a museum inside.  I liked this as well.  It is a tear drop made of dog tags.
South Koreans still remain hopeful that unification will happen in their lifetime.

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