Monday, March 23, 2009

War Museum

On sunday morning I went to the Korean War Museum with Jon. This was probably one of the coolest museums I have ever been to. I have been to much more moving museums, like the Anne Frank House or the Holocaust Museum in DC but this one was just cool and fun yet very educational. First of all the place is MASSIVE! We were there for 3 hours and we really didnt see 1/4 of the stuff, about 1/2 through we were just kind of started walking by and not really reading. Fortunately for us, there were videos along the way so we just started watching those and ignoring the reading part :)

So one wing of the museum is the history of Korea when it comes to war. It started with the beginning of Korea (long time ago I dont remember details) up through current time. There was a lot on the Korean War which was fascinating. My grandfather fought in the war but I am ashamed to say I know very little about it or the causes. So it was great reading about the background and the fighting. The most interesting part was how ill-prepared S. Korea was for the war. They had no tanks or anti-tank weaponry (N. Korea had tons of both). Also, the day N. Korea attacked all the active soldiers were on leave helping harvest, Seoul was taken in less than 3 days. One of the exhibits we read showed how the main form of defense against the incoming army was BAMBOO STICKS!! Needless to say all very educational.

The second wing of the museum was my favorite part. It was 3 floors, each one dedicated to a different branch of the military. The best part was that this was very 
 hands on. They had a naval ship we got to walk through and
and climb all over. It even allowed you to try to steer with a simulation. Then there were TONS of old cars and tanks. All of them were fair game to climb in and sit down. Then when you went outside there were planes!! All of the machinery had been used by the Korean government which was also pretty cool. I had so much fun climbing around all this stuff like a little kid.

The final thing outside the museum was several memorials. The largest, and most moving, was the Korean War memorial. It is HUGE, the pictures do not do it justice. Around the memorial shows the struggle of the people. The middle of the memorial is half a spear and half a tree. It had something to do with growth and strength of S. Korea. Then on either side the was a deep hole (can't think of a better word) that spiraled downward. All the edge of the wall was a pillar for each country that helped S. Korea.

There was another large memorial which was two brothers standing on a cracked dome. The brothers were fighting for different sides and met on the battlefield. The cracked dome represented the division of S. and N. Korea. It is interesting how no one here really talks about the bad in N. Korea but instead of the wish for the whole country to reunite. It reminds me a lot of the civil war.

Overall, great day!

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