Have you ever read The Suffering of Two Generations? It’s a famous Korean famous literature book. Park Mando, a soldier during the Japanese Colonial Period, lost his one arm in the war for independence. After liberation from Japan, Park had to participate in the Korean War. Park Jinsu, Park Mando’s son was also forced to join the army and participate in the war. He lost a leg in battle. Though they were victims of war, they never gave up hope and relied on each other. Like this story, there are thousands of nameless soldiers who gave their lives defending our nation. SMT went to The War Memorial of Korea to gain a sense of their courage and patriotism.
Where has the courage of today’s Youth gone?
The purpose for erecting the War Museum was to pass on Korea’s sad history to future generations so that they would not ignore the pain of war. Fortunately, The War Memorial of Korea is close to Sookmyung Women’s University. From Namyeung Station, it takes just 10 minutes on foot to reach its main gate. There is no admission fee, so all visitors are welcome. Nowadays, because the importance of history has grown, many children and their parents visit the museum to learn about the past. Also, many students and teachers visit the museum on school excursions. Besides Koreans, there are often many foreigners touring The War Memorial of Korea. The museum also supplies docents for free. If you wish to have a more thorough guide around the museum, visitors can make a reservation with a docent. Docents speak Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese.
Various Relics from History
The War Memorial of Korea displays various exhibitions both outdoors and indoors. Outside on the grounds are airplanes, boats, jet fighters, and ship guns. Several of the items were used during the Korean War and Vietnam War. Visitors are free to board them for a closer look. In addition to these items, visitors can spend time appreciating the multitude of monuments that express soldiers’ passion and patriotism. Especially, the statue of siblings has such a touching story behind it. The older brother, who is a South Korean soldier, and the younger brother, who is a North Korean soldier meet in battle in the war accidentally. This and other statues make people reflect on our ancestors’ difficult lives so that people can now enjoy a life of happiness.
Inside the museum are exhibition theme areas separated by floor to help visitors better understand the flow of Korean wars. The displayed weapons and battle scenes on the first floor start back in the prehistoric age and continue to the Korean empire. The most popular exhibition for children is the Turtle Ship made by General Lee Sunsin. It is a replica of the real ship constructed from documents written by General Lee. It is very detailed and magnificent. On the second floor, visitors can learn about the Korean War in more detail because this floor focuses solely on that war. Exhibits show not only the hardships of the times during the 1950s but also explain why the war came about. There is a 4D movie that runs 10 minutes about the tragic war. Besides these exhibitions, The War Memorial of Korea offers visitors a place to cherish forgotten heroes who fought against an enemy and the bitter cold to defend Korea. Finally, the museum presents the work of Korean troops in the Vietnam War. Over an 8-year-period, roughly 32 million Koreans were dispatched to Vietnam. This deployment changed the tides of contemporary Korean history.
Promise to Remember
According to Tripadvisor, a worldwide travel information site, the top recommendation for foreigners visiting Korea is The War Memorial of Korea.1 As the site shows, The War Memorial of Korea is recognized globally and Korean history and past patriotism are respected by outsiders.
However, The War Memorial of Korea is the saddest place in Korea as it highlights the separation of families, the poor, and the deaths due to war. Still, despite being attacked by an enemy and separated from loved ones, Koreans never gave up on their nation and always showed patriotism. Thanks to their courage, Korea survived and developed fast. Since today’s younger generation have never firsthand experienced war, by visiting the museum, they can sympathize with Korea’s sad history. However, young people need to keep in mind that if we don’t try to keep the past fresh in our minds, all the tears and patriotism of the past will be forgotten. Therefore, to express your gratitude, how about visiting this museum?
1 Yoon Byungchan, “The War Memorial of Korea is Highly Recommend by Foreign Tourists,” The Herald Business, September 8, 2015