The Independence Memorial Hall is home to a number of historical documents and artifacts that mostly revolve around the independence movement of Korea. These documents describe in great detail the historical hardship and sorrow the nation had to go through to attain freedom. The memorial hall also shows how the Korean people, most especially the independence fighters, used courage, wisdom and noble sprits to overcome their once devastating situation.
On August 15, 1945, Korean earned autonomy from Japan as the war came to an end. Japanese officials took down the Japanese flag and flew what is now the known to be South Korean flag. Japan also organized the formation of the Preparation Committee for the Independence of Korea and officially granted Korea autonomy.
Many argue, however, that August 15 was not precisely the date Korea gained its freedom. Less than a month after Korea was given autonomy, the Americans got a hold of the country, took down the flag of Korea and raised the flag of the Japanese. Americans still believed that Korea was still under Japan. In due time, General Douglas McArthur, the commander-in-chief of the Allied army established a military administration over Korea and raised the American flag instead. Korea only became liberated from any kind of foreign administration three years after 1945 when the Americans left in 1948. To this date, the actual independence of Korea is subject to debate but collectively, the nation celebrates its independence on August 15, 1945.
The memorial hall was opened back in August 15 of 1987 during the 43rd anniversary of the country’s independence. A monument of General McArthur and several statues of figures that had an impact on the country’s independence can be seen. Aside from the actual memorial hall, the vicinity also includes the Tower of Compatriots, the House of Compatriots and the Wish for Unification Bell.
The current memorial hall occupies a 4-square-kilometer area. The hall was originally built to promote nationalism within the country by providing exhibitions and study materials about Korea. What makes the memorial hall much more amazing is that it was built using funds contributed by their entire nation. The coming together of the nation is then a simple act of how much love Koreans have for their own country.
The memorial hall is open from 9:30 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon from November to February while it opens an hour longer from March to October. Like many other exhibition halls and museums around Korea, the memorial hall is closed during Mondays for maintenance work.
Admissions fees are at 2,000 won for adults while students can get in for 1,100 won per person. Children and soldiers have an entrance fee of 700 won. Discounts are however given to those coming in groups of 30 people or more. Adults, students and children or soldiers can get in for 1,500 won, 700 won and 500 won respectively when availing group discounts.
The Independence Memorial Hall was built to celebrate the independence of Korea from Japan and precisely that. Although there may be arguments as to the actual date of independence of the country, what matters is that the memorial is a symbol of love for the country Koreans have always had for many years.