I must have had war on my mind since shortly after a trip to the DMZ, I wanted to go to the War Memorial of Korea. As the weather hadn’t been so great in Seoul last weekend, it was the perfect indoor place to go. But I have to admit, after a few hours and only completing two of the three floors, I was all war’d out.
Don’t misunderstand me – I really enjoyed the War Memorial. In fact, I learned a lot more about the history of Korea from this place – which I always love since it helps me understand the country and its culture better. One of the sentiments that I got from this trip was that the dream of reunification is deeply rooted in this country. Despite the news reports – and at times, the Korean people I’ve met – I get that the country does hope to see Korea unified as one country one day. By no means do they forget their past and the events that have transpired to the current state of things. But I think it’s beautiful that the first monuments you see on arrival of the memorial grounds and on the first leg of the memorial tour are the bittersweet memories of the past and the hope for reunification.
There was also a field of aircraft, ships, and other war vehicles at the memorial. Unfortunately, I felt too cold to document it. But definitely an interesting sort of playground for any kids (and grown up kids) who are into those aspects of war history.
Another great part of the memorial is the historical objects and replications. There were a number of school groups and families – Korea has a rich and deep history that they take pride in educating their children about.
There were moments in the memorial that made things seem more “human” to me. Aside from the facts of war, there are the human elements that we generally overlook. Perhaps it would be too overwhelming to remember all the individual stories – but it’s good to be reminded of it.
I’d recommend the War Memorial of Korea to anyone who’s interested in learning about Korea during wartime (and they go back hundreds of years – not just focusing on the Korean War). It’s a great indoor place to explore on a rainy or gloomy day.