With the second week coming to an end, I immersed myself in a culture experience by joining a school field trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The DMZ is a strip of land that divides the Korean Peninsula in half and is established by the provisions of the Korean Armistice Agreement.
Since 1952, Korea has been divided when the North had been taken from Japanese control by the Soviets at the end of WW2. The DMZ allows both sides of Korea to be separated and serves as a reminder of the Korean War. Due to this border, Korea is technically still at war till this day.
Shown above is the Dorasan Station, which is used to connect North and South Korea. It is a railway station that is not in regular service due to the countries separation. The current existence of this station is to symbolize the hope of eventual peaceful unification. The ticket I purchased is 1,000 won and it allows me to enter the station and witness both sides of the countries in one location. On the right is the route to North Korea and the left is the route to Seoul.
After exploring the DMZ, the group arrived at the War Memorial of Korea. This is a museum open to the public that exhibits and memorializes the military history of Korea. It is open of peaceful reunification and teaches lessons learned from the war. Exploring the museum was heartbreaking as I was able to observe the sacrifices people went through during that time.
There were military clothing, notes, letters, weapons, and more on display for the public to see. It was agonizing to realize that school girls and boys who just learned how to pull the trigger were also involved in the war. Children were actively involved in the war to win against the North and this fact was heartbreaking.
The picture above is a memorial service to all the people who died during the war and many more are not pictured. I have learned a lot about the history of Korea during this tour and I sympathize with the Korean people for a hopeful unification with a peaceful end to the ongoing Korean War.