|The War Memorial of Korea.|
Whatever the reason is, I could not help but feel melancholy as I took photos of The Statue of Brothers, the most predominant edifice (in my opinion, at least) on the memorial grounds.
|The Statue of Brothers.|
|The crack in the dome stands for the division of Korea and the hope for unification.|
The two soldiers represent South and North Korea.
(Answer after the jump. Picture-heavy post!)
Today marks the 66th anniversary of the Korean War, one of the most dismal wars in history. The skirmish began on this cataclysmic day in 1950, when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People's Army intruded the 38th parallel, the boundary that divides North and South Korea.
|A mosaic inside the dome of the Statue of Brothers.|
|Defending the Fatherland - statues of soldiers in action at the Korean War Monument.|
|The soldiers, from another angle.|
|The Korean War Monument.|
For the American officials, this invasion was not simply a border dispute; to them, this could be the start of a communist takeover. As such, the war on the Korean peninsula became a global struggle between good and evil, a fight for freedom, and a war against communism itself.
|The Flying Wing.|
The fighting ensued for 3 years, and ended with an Armistice Agreement signed on July 27, 1953. This agreement allowed the release and return of POWs (prisoners of war), and created the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which now separates North and South Korea.
|The Clock Tower of Peace.|
|The Clock of Hope for Unification, which will be put on the Clock Tower|
and will indicate the Time of Unification, if and when it happens in the future.
However, no peace treaty has been signed so technically speaking, the two Koreas are 'still at odds'. And aside from territorial changes in the Korean peninsula, the war also brought about a death toll of nearly 1.2 million, almost half of which were civilians.
To commemorate the lives that had been lost and to honor the noble sacrifice of patriotic martyrs, the War Memorial of Korea was built. The memorial first opened its doors to the public on June 10, 1994, and is the first and the largest of its kind in the world. It is located in Yongsan, Seoul, where the headquarters of the Korean Infantry once stood.
This massive complex consists of indoor and outdoor exhibition areas. The indoor exhibits are located inside the museum, and are split into seven different halls, starting from the Memorial Hall on the second floor.
This area is dedicated to the memory of patriots who lost their lives during the war. Along its corridors are walls lined with plaques bearing the names of each and every individual - soldiers, policemen, ordinary citizens - killed during the conflict.
|So that we may never forget.|
|The Reflecting Pool.|
|The stairs leading to the Monument of KIA|
|The Roll of Honor.|
|The Peace Plaza, which bears the flag of every UN country that helped South Korea during the war.|
|The outdoor exhibition area features aircraft, tanks, vehicles, and large artillery used during the war.|
|He wanted to check if it's the real thing, haha. :)|
|B-52 Stratofortress Bomber.|
|Still more planes!|
|An armored vehicle, and yes, you can ride on it.|
Our original plan was to visit this museum first before heading to the adjacent Children's Museum. However, since the museums will be closing at 6pm and the last admission for both is at 5pm, I had to choose one over the other. It had to be the Children's Museum, of course.
|And a playground, too!|
|Yue enjoying every minute of his visit here. :)|
Previously used for traditional Korean wedding ceremonies, this area was rebuilt and redesigned into an 'edutainment' center for kids. The Children's Museum formally opened in December 2014, and has since become a favorite attraction among the younger visitors of the War Memorial.
The museum is divided into six sections, each filled with fun and informative educational materials, games, and videos.
|Map of the Children's Museum.|
The Public Square, which is located right past the entrance, has a small library where kids can sit comfortably and read to their hearts' content.
Kids can watch animated history clips inside these alcoves, Yue seemed to understand what the video clip was all about, despite the language barrier.
|Admiral Yi Sun Shin, the greatest naval commander in Korean history.|
|Press the hand to play the video clip.|
|Yue taking a stab at the games in this area.|
|The boxes lights up once you place your hand inside the hole.|
|Yue tapping flag as the kind museum ahjumma looks on.|
|Just by looking at this illustration, I knew right away what it was all about.|
|English translation, please.|
|Yue watching the video.|
|And me looking on.|
|In every way, it is the children who suffer the most.|
|Learning about the countries that helped South Korea during the war.|
|Shouting for freedom!|
Next is the 'Wish for Peace' section, which features a play area. Kids taller than 110 cm can enjoy the netted playground and mini climbing wall; for those who fall short of this height requirement, they can enjoy the padded play area or watch animated clips instead.
|Yue must have been so tired from all the walking that he chose to sit down and watch videos instead.|
|Animated video featuring the Korean national anthem.|
|A puzzle featuring the Korean flag and the mungunghwa, the national flower of Korea.|
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to the War Memorial of Korea despite being unable to see the exhibits inside the 'adult' museum. I will make up for this missed opportunity the next time we visit Korea, which will most likely be in December.
|Yue aboard the warship.|
Yue, who had a blast by simply looking at the tanks and missiles, and riding the warships and armored vehicles, has been telling me constantly that we must visit this place again. We definitely will!
|Let this be a reminder to all.|
To get to the War Memorial, take the Samgakji Station Exit 1, 11, or 12, or the Namyeong Station Exit 1.