In July 2018, South Korea will celebrate sixty-five years of peace. The Korean War was relatively short but exceptionally bloody. Nearly 5 million people perished. More than half of these, about 10 percent of Korea’s prewar population, were civilians. This rate of civilian casualties was higher than World War II’s and Vietnam’s.
227,800 South Korean soldiers died in the conflict, and 717,100 were wounded. In addition, 36,574 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded.
Today there are two Koreas. The miserable, opressed, Communist North ruled by the brutal dictator Kim Jong Un, and the free and happy people of the South Korea. Needless to say, I am glad to be in the South, and far away from our own dictator in the making back in the States.
LAZY FOX DEN HOSTEL – My home in Seoul, and a friendly inexpensive base of operation for exploring the city. Unfortunately my first two days were consumed by my attempts to ship a package back to the states. My purchases had become cumbersome, and I also had a sapphire ring that I purchased in Sri Lanka that I wanted to get off of my hands. I had two round trips to DHL when they turned around and denied my shipment due to excess value. My fifth cab ride to a FedEx proved successful, and as of this writing the package is sitting in their facility in San Diego awaiting final delivery. Thankfully cabs are inexpensive and honest in Seoul so it didn’t damage me irreparably.
DINA’S BEAUTIFUL PINK SAPPHIRE – This is a combo Mother’s Day, Anniversary, and push gift from Steve. One carat for each baby and pink for the girls. Such a pretty color. Since the weather was lacking for snorkeling and scuba in Sri Lanka, it was nice to have my time there count for something there. I bought the ring on Steve’s direction, and he got a great deal from the jeweler since it was the rainy season.
It’s going to be a sunny day for Dina tomorrow when she can finally hold it in her hands and get it sized. Needless to say a lot has gone into the purchase, transport, protection, and shipping of this little treasure. It has all been worth it. I just wish I could see here when she receives it. Perhaps we can FaceTime at 2:00am Korea time.
Unfortunately I picked up yet another air conditioning cough so my time in Korea has been mostly squandered though not entirely. I have been enjoying the local cuisine, and I visited the Korean War Memorial and Museum.
MECENATPOLIS MALL – They have a wonder group of restaurants near this fountain, and there are usually a bunch of soaking wet kids whooping and hollering in the thing.
BANG’S MANDOO – MY FAVORITE DUMPLING SHOP
SEOUL METRO – ANOTHER SPOTLESS ASIAN METRO – EASY TO READ ENGLISH INSTRUCTIONS
FIRST OF MANY MEMORIALS
GI embraces a wounded Korean soldier.
KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL – STATUES OF KOREAN AND US TROOPS ENCIRCLE THE BASE
After three and a half years of travels it is nice to finally see something good that came from one of our military interventions. After visits to Vietnam, Central and South America, things can get pretty discouraging.
Next year I will do a road trip in the North of France primarily in Brittany and Normandy where I will no doubt pay my respects to those who gave their lives to help liberate Europe from Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. June 6th. will be the 75th. anniversary of D-Day, and I’ll return to the beaches of Normandy to mark that occasion. After all it is a part of American history worth celebrating, and a good distraction from fascism that is currently germinating in America today.
AMERICANS TO THE LEFT – These young Koreans no doubt owe their very existence to the kind of men depicted in this memorial.
KOREANS TO THE RIGHT
KOREAN WAR MUSEUM
NORTH KOREAN KIM II SUNG’S LIMOSINE – CAPTURED BY THE R.O.K. ARMY DURING THE KOREAN WAR
COMMUNIST HOOD ORNAMENT
PRESIDENTIAL VEHICLE USED BY PRESIDENT SYNGMAN RHEE
In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower presented this Cadillac sedan to South Korea’s first President as a gift. It was the first bullet proof vehicle introduced in Korea.
SOVIET T-34 TANK – It was developed in 1939 and was one of the best tanks of WWII. The North Korean People’s Army deployed some 242 of these battle tanks during the Korean War, and they spearheaded the surprise invasion of the Republic of Korea on 25 June 1950.
KING SEJONG THE GREAT – CUTTING EDGE DESTROYER WITH AEGIS COMBAT SYSTEM
SOLDIER OF THE FUTURE – The military personnel of the future will be able to simultaneously see, record, and shoot wearing a combined helmet equipped with a display function showing a virtual world, a video camera, headphones, and a voice recognizing microphone. For individual weapons, troops are equipped with 20mm airburst shells, laser range finder, laser target destination sight, mini missile and video camera, along with a telescopic sight that can spot targets at night and day.
It’s such a comfort that they are planning for a future that will perpetuate our barbarity, and find more efficient ways of ending each other’s lives rather than addressing the fundamental flaws of the collective psyche of humanity, and attempting to rid the world of violence, greed, and stupidity.
GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR’S CORN COB PIPE
THREE HUMAN BOMBS AT THE WHITEHORSE HILL – These men sacrificed themselves to aid in the recapture of White Horse Hill.
South Korea contributed over 300,000 troops the U.S. war effort in Vietnam. South Korea has been staunch ally throughout the years lending assistance to our misadventures in the Middle East.
M16-A1 RIFLE – The “go to” rifle used in the Vietnam War. I fired one of these when I visited the country at the start of my World Tour in 2015.
At the outbreak of the Korean War, young soldiers from 21 countries participated in the freedom and peace of Korea with no strings attached. They came to help a country they never knew and a people they never met. Their noble blood and sweat have served as the foundation for the prosperity of Korea today. Korea honors their invaluable sacrifices.
This statement was placed at the base of Korea’s flag. All of the other countries had the numbers of participation, wounded, and killed in action. Korea simply acknowledged the sacrifices of others and gave thanks from a grateful nation without mentioning their own losses in the process. A very class maneuver to say the least.
“No Longer The Forgotten War” – 36,574 Americans killed in action.
KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL
Seen On the Base of the Monument
KOREAN WAR HARDWARE
The tools of destruction next to kiddie figures. The museum gift shop was filled with children’s toys, and very little war memorabilia. Hopefully, their children will be spared the horrors of war.
BULLET HOLE ABSTRACT AMIDSHIPS
“AIRCAT” AIR BOAT (USA)
M110 8 Inch Self-Propelled Howitzer
152mm M1937(ML20) HOWITZER (USSR)
F-86F SABRE FIGHTER (USA)
AH-1J COBRA ATTACK HELICOPTER
C-119G “FLYING BOXCAR” TRANSPORT (USA)
“SHARDS OF WAR” Clock
Although I have squandered much of my time here with errands and illness, I have managed to get to the heart of the matter here in Seoul at this memorial and honorarium. This place captures the essence of why there is even a free South Korea to visit in the first place. I will probably return to South Korea in the future, but at least I can leave with the confidence that I have visited its most important site.
I’m sure Korea has many wonderful sights to offer, but there is always another day for a world traveler such as myself. I will certainly pay South Korea a visit next time I am in the neighborhood. Given the history here, Americans are welcome, and I have certainly been treated well during my visit. I am always delighted to spend my tourist dollars in a country where there is mutual respect and good Korean barbecue.