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21 March 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Korean War Museum

Here finally are the pics I took from the Korea War Museum in Yongsan-Gu. Julie and I went there a few weekends ago. Rather than posting a documentary though, I suggest you go and see the place for yourself sometime if you can or search around the web at some of the many sites.

While there are a couple of oddities, overall it's really an amazing and comprehensive place. The pictures below are only a fraction of what's there to see.

The good old friendly US government hard at work next door to the museum. What is this place? Anyone know?

You know you are there when you see this massive statue. It's hard to tell but the visitor walking there was eating an ice cream.

Above the main entrance are the words "ONLY STRONG NATIONAL SECURITY CAN GUARANTEE PEACE" - so don't go getting any heroic ideas.

Just one of many walls memorializing the names of Koreans who died in the Korean War. It certainly puts the numbers into perspective. All you can do is stand there shaking your head in disbelief unable to comprehend why.

The names of some Americans who gave their lives to defend complete strangers halfway across the world.

And a lot more of their names. They are listed by state. I knew before how many had died, but seeing this made my eyes water - it really hits you hard. Guys just like me but 10 years younger out there shooting each other and dying. To think of how little I had lived by 18 years makes me sad for them. For some chilling statistics check here.

There's more to the museum than just the Korean War. It showcases displays from all the aggressions that have been made against Korea. It's a testament to national spirit that the little country has survived, honestly. Why don't boats still look like this?

Hold the camera just right and you now have a copy of some cool artwork.

One of many scaled models of Korea as it looked in the past. I want it to look like this now, truthfully - just as long as the internet is still available. Some of these buildings would make cool pc bangs and board game cafes.

I can't remember exactly, but I think this display depicts the liberation of the Koreans after the Japanese occupation.

There are several war scene displays like this one complete with lights and sound effects.

One large room is full of these highly detailed life size models of life as it was for the poor common people during the Korean War. As you can see, life was hard. I can almost hear the young people of today wondering, where are the department stores, handphones, deokboki ajummas? Nightmare!

I think these scenes are powerful and speak for themselves:

This part was one of the let downs. Right in the War Museum they hold other events like this one, some kind of freaky circus for kids about the human body. It was totally out of place and shouldn't have been there.

The other let down was this. Both Julie and I were shocked. It's The War Game Room. Can you believe it? You walk around seeing the horrors and realities of war, and then they have this.

Is there anything more disturbing than this? Oh boy! Time to fly around and kill people. Wow! I love this museum. War really is fun!

Back outside, Julie gets asked to take some family's picture. Say kimchi!

Stone sculptures like these line the walls behind the benches out front. We sat down for awhile and then headed out for dinner.

Julie was happy to leave. Seeing all the horror and hardships, she felt pity and a deep sadness for her country. However, both of us agreed that we are very lucky people to live in this day and age, that we haven't had to suffer, that because of those who fought and suffered we are free. We all need that reminder now and again. That's why places like this exist. To honor those who sacrificed and to remind us to be thankful for what we have.