No Gun Ri Peace Park memorial tower (Photo: Charles J. Hanley)
The truths of No Gun Ri have taken root in the heart of South Korea. A memorial tower, museum and garden of mournful sculptures have risen from the soil of the central valley where the 1950 refugee massacre took place. In the United States, however, home of the agents of those killings, much of the truth remains buried, by official intent and unofficial indifference.
Built by the South Korean government at a cost of $17 million, the new No Gun Ri Peace Park, covering 33 acres in Yongdong County, 100 miles southeast of Seoul, offers a straightforward account of what happened over four July days early in the Korean War:
READ MOREAs the North Korean army advanced into South Korea, residents of two Yongdong County villages were ordered from their homes by American troops, to be evacuated southward. Resting on railroad tracks near No Gun Ri, they were suddenly attacked by U.S. warplanes and many were killed. Over the next three days, U.S. troops killed many more as they huddled, trapped, under the No Gun Ri railroad bridge. An estimated 250 to 300 died.1