ISSN : 0023-3900
South Korea has become another nation in the global statue wars movement. This movement advocates the removal of statues honoring persons viewed as not deserving respect. In South Korea, activists have called for the removal of statues of Korean Japanese collaborators and that of General Douglas MacArthur. At the same time statues have gone up commemorating individuals and social actions for justice. Victims of injustice, to include those of an American military massacre, have been recognized. These transformative changes were made possible by democratization in the 1990s. The country’s previous authoritarian rule restricted the memorialization of the American military experience to a state-sanctioned narrative portraying America as savior. This article will demonstrate how memory sites and monuments from the authoritarian period reflected this narrative. They offered up a militaristic perspective of heroic battles and heroes, and expressed gratitude for humanitarian accomplishments. This is an accurate portrayal as the American military did demonstrate bravery, devotion to duty, and humanitarianism. However, the dark side to this remained hidden and its victims silenced. With the lifting of authoritarian control, preserved memory sites can now provide details to complete our understanding of the American military experience in South Korea.