Friday, June 12, 2015

Seoul National Cemetery

The Seoul National Cemetery seemed an appropriate place to visit on Monday, May 25, 2015, which was Memorial Day in the U.S.A., as well as a Korean holiday from work for Bob.  Established in 1955, it is a beautiful resting place for the remains of 165,000 Korean martyred patriots and civil servants.  The grounds are expansive, covering more than 1.43 million square meters of land nestled between the Han River and the foothills of Mt. Gwanak.  Riding our bikes, Bob and I arrived at the cemetery mid-morning, and stopped first at the Relics Exhibition House where displayed are medals and relics of individuals who served in various conflicts.  Also on display is a diorama of war memorials erected throughout the world in honor of countries who supported South Korea during the Korean War.

The perfectly arranged tombstones stretch for miles in every direction.  These are the graves of more than 54,000 soldiers, police officers, noteworthy citizens and government leaders.

 Also interred here are the remains of former Presidents of South Korea and their wives.  Upon terraced hillsides lie Generals and other important military leaders.

 Beautiful statues, memorials, and reflecting ponds decorate the grounds.

The Memorial Tower honors the fallen for their devotion and sacrifice.  Beneath the tower are inscribed the names of 104,000 soldiers who fought in the Korean war whose remains were never found.  The statue of souls ascending to heaven enshrines the ashes of 7,000 unidentified soldiers.

Our visit to the National Cemetery was a sobering reminder of the cost of freedom.  We are grateful for patriots in every land who are willing to defend their God-given rights with devotion and honor.  These sacred grounds are made holy with their spilt blood.  And the beauty of this site is magnified by understanding that life extends beyond the grave because of the glorious resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

It was a beautiful day to be riding our bikes and the paths along the Han River, where we headed next, were crowded with others taking advantage of the same opportunity.  The parks were packed with tents which we assume were erected to provide shade and a private space to relax and enjoy the short-lived pleasant climate.  The children enjoyed splashing in the fountains and streams, and Bob and I watched in amusement.  Then we found our private retreat on a bed of clovers near the riverbank where we stretched out in the open sun and absorbed some of it's wonderfully welcome rays of light. 


  I guess we are not Korean, yet!

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