Monday, May 5, 2014

The Korean War Memorial

On Sunday, I headed out to see the Korean War Memorial, which I'd been wanting to check out for a while. It serves as both a memorial for all the fallen men during all of Korea's conflicts (especially the Korean war, but not just that), and as a museum with relics and exhibits from thousands of years ago. A journey through Korean conflict is a journey through Korean history.

The outside definitely serves as more of a memorial to the Korean war:

the building

A map of Korea a loooong time ago

It also has many tanks, planes and other things on display. Most of these are old WWII technology that got shifted to the Korean War, since the latter started in 1950. Most of North Korea's weaponry came from the USSR, whereas the US supplied many models to the South Koreans.

The Two Brothers statue

Representing a North and South Korean
who met each other in battle

Again, the museum also serves as a basic history museum

 I find it incredibly interesting that archery
developed independently all over the world,
without the influence of other cultures, unlike
guns and artillery

They had models of famous, important
generals from all different eras. 

And model battle scenes

This was a soldier's uniform pre Joseon dynasty

a collection of Admiral Yi's writings. You
remember him, right?

I think this is Admiral Yi's actual writing

War banners

War banners

Personal ID cards in the Joseon/Choson dynasty.
Spellings vary... I usually use Joseon.

Battle attire


Felt officer hats 

They also had a section that described the uniforms and weapons at similar time periods in other countries, as well as their relationship with Korea.




And then they had a model of the Turtle Ship Admiral Yi Sun Shin built to fight against Japan

The upper floor had a really nice tribute to the UN and all of the soldiers who fought in the Korean War

a graveyard with flags from respective nations
that gave aid
there are lots of soldiers whose final resting place
was Korea. This is to honor them

"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered
the call to defend a country they never knew and a people
they never met" I thought this was really beautiful

flags from all the nations who sent troops and such to Korea.

I was surprised to see places like Ethiopia, Denmark Columbia, Turkey, Greece, and Luxembourg on the list of places that sent  troops to Korea during the war. It just never hit me that more than the US and Britain were really involved. Gotta brush up on more of my history I guess!

Italy even sent a medical unit, despite the fact
that they weren't even part of the UN at the time

depiction of Korea during and after the war

countries that sent aid in some way (financially, supplies, etc)
to Korea- not troops, but goods or money

medals donated to the museum

Then they had other models hanging around

I did not know Korea was involved in Vietnam

Korean participation in many other places, like in Africa and
the Middle East

Location of Korean troops

They even had a display for women in the military, with lots of sample outfits. 

And then some more artillery and models for kids to look at. Again, predominantly from the USSR and USA.

And then they finally introduced some models that Korean companies, ie Hyundai, had created

On my way out, I walked through the statue of The Two Brothers

Inside, there is a tile dedicated to every country in the UN that sent troops to help during the war:

And memorial mosaics 

Overall, it was a HUGE museum. I spent about 3 hours there, and could have spent a lot more time investigating some of the displays and items. It was really interesting to basically walk through the entire history of Korea, from the 3 Kingdoms to the Joseon Dynasty, and finally through the Korean War. It was nice to see displays thanking the UN for their help, as well as a display about how Korea has gone from an aid recipient to an aid giver. Geographically, they have been subject to a lot of land battles (and now I have much more insight as to why the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese do not tend to get a long- they've had a tumultuous history), and their recovery after the Korean War, anticipated to take around 100 years, has been rapid and impressive. I highly recommend checking out this museum if you're in Seoul, as it has something for everyone- history, battle, artifacts. Pretty awesome.

Also there's a place where you can assert
your belief that Dokdo belongs to Korea.
It's a big deal here, you can look up the conflict

I think they're officially named the Lioncourt Rocks. Japan calls them Takeshima and claims they have the claim to them. Korea calls them Dokdo and claims it's historically theirs. It's not so much the islands (really, they're just rocks), so much as the honor and pride issue. Koreans take the conflict very seriously, and it's important to learn the backstory of WHY they feel that way.

Again, highly recommended. It was really cool to see the progression from ancient to modern all in one museum, told in the medium of war relics and items. I'm glad I had some time to go and wander around this museum. 

Because I caught up on Gapdongi and my bias from MBLAQ is in it (Lee Joon- a bias is your favorite member of a group), here's another one of their great songs- Smoky Girl

There is such boss dancing in this video. And pink hair. Bam.

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