No Gun Ri Peace Park with flowers, trees, and water in the name of love and peace

Posted on : 2019-06-13 16:14 KST Modified on : 2019-06-13 16:14 KST
Park built in 2011 to commemorate Korean War victims of US bombing
The the No Gun Ri Memorial Peace Park in Yeongdong County
The the No Gun Ri Memorial Peace Park in Yeongdong County

Roses bloomed in splendor, as if to offer a path of flowers for the park’s slumbering souls to tread. The design came after the spatial concept of a “park of flowers, trees, and water” was combined with the original idea for a “hall of love and peace.” On the early summer day of June 12, the No Gun Ri Memorial Peace Park in Yeongdong County, North Chungcheong Province, was replete with flowers and trees.

No Gun Ri Peace Park was built in 2011 to commemorate residents killed in US military bombing attacks during the Korea War at sites including the Ssanggul railway bridge in Nogeun, a village in the Yeongdong’s Hwanggan Township. The official count of victims alone – based on an official review – stands at 226, with over 2,240 surviving family members. The peace park, which was built at a cost of 19.1 billion won (US$16.12 million) in government funds on a 132,240㎡ location near the former Nosong Elementary School across from the massacre site, includes a memorial stone and a peace museum, where archival materials and photographs from the Nogeun-ri incident and Korean War are on display. It is a somber setting where memorial ceremonies are held each year, with processions of visitors from South Korea and overseas paying their respects.

The roses first began to blossom here three years ago. More and more members of the public, including teenagers and small children, began visiting the park after the 2016 creation of a 13,000㎡ garden planted with 1,500 rose bushes.

“I wanted to soothe the departed souls of Nogeun-ri with beautiful flowers,” explained their donor, rose farmer and researcher Ahn Dae-seong, 70. Today, the scene is a true spectacle, with 2,600 bushes blooming into over 50,000 flowers. In addition to roses, other spring blossoms were added this year, including 20,000 pansies, 4,000 marigolds, and rose of Sharon flowers.

A themed park has also been added to allow visitors to enjoy flowers for all seasons, including roses, lotuses, peonies, and chrysanthemums. The Nogeun-ri International Peace Foundation, which administers the site, held a Nogeun-ri Garden Festival event on May 18. A photography exhibition is also being held on the themes “No Gun Ri Peace Park,” “people,” “peace,” and “action.” Submissions are open to anyone and continue until Aug. 17.

“With flowers blossoming for all four seasons, No Gun Ri Peace Park has become a park of healing,” said an official with the Nogeun-ri International Peace Foundation.

“We look forward to all citizens enjoying this garden of peace and flowers.”

By Oh Yoon-joo, Cheongju correspondent

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