Abstract

In 2011, South Korea built an unusual memorial that honors civilian victims of an American atrocity during the Korean War. This memorial, called the No Gun Ri Peace Park, particularly commemorates the No Gun Ri killings, a 2000 Pulitzer Prize–winning story that depicts the massacre by American GIs of South Korean civilians who were taking refuge underneath a bridge called No Gun Ri. As a durable war mnemonic in a public site, the park is now performing the critical role that survivors and victims’ families used to carry: witnessing, performing, and transferring trauma to others. This essay critically looks at not only how the park reenacts civilian bodies in communicating a traumatic event that most visitors did not experience directly but also how it—as a newly constructed sign—negotiates meanings of the No Gun Ri bridge, the original site of the killings that is located adjacent to the park.

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