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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

United Nations Korean War Memorial Cemetery

Story and Photos By Christina Balint

A marker denotes the nationality of the many brave soldiers buried here.

As each person has their own story, so too, do countries. Some people revel in the chance to share their story. Some people let their stories live silently within them. Countries do not have either option. They do not have the choice. A country’s story is told by those who lived within it and those who watched it unfold. It is recounted by the people who call it home, much like the heart that tells the story of the individual.

Flags of the countries participating in the war flutter in the breeze

Living abroad has its responsibilities. As much as the locals may inquire about the customs, weather, and the people of your homeland, so to, must you, put forth the effort to learn about your new (regardless of how temporary you may see it) home…South Korea! Through education, understanding and compassion naturally follow.

Due to the unconditional surrender of the Japanese after World War II, Korea was set free. The superpowers of the Soviet Union and the USA used Korea as a buffer zone between communism and capitalism and split the country in two. With a democracy set up in the south and a dictatorship in the north, it took little time for the north to attempt a reunification by force and southward attack to ensue. Supplied with state-of-the-art tanks and equipment from the Soviet Union, the unprepared South Koreans surrendered Seoul within just three days, and retreated as far south east as Masan, Pohang and Busan. For the first time in history, in the name of peace and freedom, the United Nations unanimously voted to defend South Korea. Sixteen countries supplied military support and five provided medical support. The war waged for just over three years, producing 40,896 UN casualties. Buried here in Busan’s Memorial Cemetery, are 2,300 of those brave souls. Eight hundred and eighty five deceased soldiers from the United Kingdom were laid to rest here as well as 378 Canadians and 281 Australians, to name just a few.

Dozens of graves mark the fallen.

Beautifully manicured gardens, flags representing all countries involved, burial plots for each country, as well as several statues and monuments adorn this vast and sacred yard. Guards at the main and east gates will respectfully welcome you, as well as silence is asked of you. All are welcome, come pay your respects. Lest we Forget.

This flag was flown over the UN command during the 1950-53 conflict

This flag was flown over the UN command during the 1950-53 conflict

Memorabilia Hall: This simple building has a 10 minute film, available in both English and Korean, summarizing the war. It also houses the first UN flag used by UN Command during the Korean War as well as countless troop photographs and medals.

A map of the Korean War major campaigns

Wall of Remembrance: Each soldiers name is engraved in this wall. An Eternal Flame standing in the middle of a round pond commemorates the soldiers and symbolizes the world wide wish for peace.