UN Memorial Cemetery - God Bless America!
http://www.unmck.or.kr/) is one of the most memorable sites in Busan that I've been to so far. The cemetery, dedicated to the international soldiers who gave their lives in the Korean War is next to the Busan Museum, so I was able to see both during a long afternoon. I initially thought I was just going to pass through a cemetery with some statues and marble monoliths, but it turned out to be much more - though there are plenty of huge marble fixtures and displays.
The large plot of land (approximately 35 acres) is set at a central location in Busan. About a 10 minute walk from the Daeyeon subway station will take you to the Cultural Center, Museum, and Memorial Cemetery.
It is laid out like I imagined a cemetery would be - a broad, rolling field with rows and rows of grave sites. The cemetery celebrates a conglomerate of countries like America, U.K., Canada, Australia that many of us read about in history books. However, I was also surprised to learn of the many other nations that were part of this war effort like Turkey, Norway, the Netherlands, Thailand and the Philippines.
What I wasn't expecting were the respectful and sincere monuments to the fallen. Most impressive being the "Wall of Rememberence". It is a circular set of marble walls surrounding a fountain listing all the names of the soldiers who died in the war. It was truly humbling to see the number of names for the United States (nearly 37,000 listed by state). It is one thing to read a number, but to see the names listed gave a different meaning. To actually see a name made me realize that they were an individual walking, talking, and living at one time, and then lost their life in a fight for freedom. Not even for their own country. An amazing sacrifice that I cannot understand.
There are many other monuments as well that paid homage to the fallen that were respectful and appreciated. I have to say that it has been some time since I've truly felt "proud to be an American" and yet here I was on the other side of the world. I am having a fantastic experience here in Korea, and like many of us back home it is easy to point out the issues America faces these days. Yet, in the broad scope of reality, there is only one country that is both admired and despised by the world for endless reasons - the United States of America. On this day I felt the admiration. God bless the USA!
ESL, Travel, and Judo!