United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea (UNMCK)

The vast majority of those who died during the Korean war were Koreans. For every American soldier who died during the Korean War, there were 10 or more dead Koreans, most of them civilians, many of them summarily executed. But South Koreans make it a point to remember the international community who fought by their side. No other armed conflict in the history of modern warfare saw more nations in support of one nation, than with South Koreans during the Korean War: 16 nations provided military support, and another five provided medical support.

The United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea is the only UN Cemetery in the world. It is located in Busan, one of the only Korean War memorials in South Korea not located in or near Seoul. It was built to honor those nations who served alongside South Korea, and specifically to honor the 2,300 soldiers currently interred there (more than half of whom are British or Turkish).

Behind only South Korea, the United States suffered more casualties in support of South Korea (~36,492) than any other nation, but most of those remains have been repatriated, as only 36 American soldiers are interred in Busan at the UNMCK.

Nearly half of the 1,000 or so Turkish soldiers who died during the Korean War are buried in Busan.


Looks can be deceiving. This intimidating soldier posted at the main entrance was quite friendly, and after he asked me, "What is your country?" and I told him the United States, he agreed to pose for a photograph. But he wasn't really posing. He stands like this pretty much always.


This is the Unknown Soldiers' Pathway, which includes 11 small waterfalls, 11 water fountains, and 11 pine trees on each side of the path. The number 11 represents the total number of countries whose soldiers are currently interred at the cemetery. The number 22 (11 on each side) represents the 22 nations (including Korea) who fought under the UN flag during the Korean War.


An unknown casualty of war buried prominently along one of the main pathways.


Korean soldiers on duty at the cemetery, marching near a sign that requests silence and respect.


This is the pond at the Wall of Remembrance. Usually there is an active fountain, but here it is being cleaned. Behind the fountain are 22 nation flags plus the United Nations flag. Adjacent to the pond is a large wall that lists nearly 41,000 names. Nearly all of those names are Americans.


The view of the main cemetery, from a distance. Please keep off the grass.