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June 23, 2010

Remembering the Korean War, 60 years ago

This Friday, June 25th, it will have been sixty years since the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. After decades of Japanese occupation, Korea was divided in two by Allied Forces at the end of World War II, with the south administered by the U.S. and the north by Soviet Russia. Deep divisions built over several years, leading to skirmishes and finally an invasion by North Korean troops on June 25th, 1950. The United Nations sent troops and support from 21 countries to support South Korea, primarily from the United States and Britain. The war lasted for three years, with large advances and retreats on both sides, and many casualties. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed. The two Koreas are technically still at war since hostilities ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty in 1953. Though it is often referred to as "The Forgotten War", I hope this collection of photographs helps us to remember the events of 1950-53, those involved, and the legacy that still remains, sixty years later. (48 photos total)

With her brother on her back a war weary Korean girl tiredly trudges by a stalled M-26 tank, at Haengju, Korea. June 9, 1951. (U.S. Navy/Maj. R.V. Spencer, UAF)

One of four American soldiers of the 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Division, Company, unknown, found midway between the forward observation post and the actual front line on July 10, 1950. The cameraman's caption states that the men were probably captured the night of 9th July, and then shot. Most of them were shot through the head with their hands tied behind their backs. Along with them was a variety of Equipment burned and destroyed. (AP Photo) #

A U.S. Marine tank follows a line of prisoners of war down a village street. September 26, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/U.S. Marine Corps/S. Sgt. John Babyak, Jr.) #

These South Korean recruits, sitting flat car for transfer to a training center, are heading for the army and the war against the North Korean invaders. They were given a flag-waving, band-playing send-off on July 17, 1950. (AP Photo) #

A Bell evacuation helicopter of Marine Observation Squadron 6, carrying wounded Marines from the front lines, lands at "A" Medical Company of the First Marine Division in 1950. Naval corpsmen stand by with stretcher to unload the wounded men from helicopter "pods" and rush them to the operating and hospital tents in the background. (U.S. Department of Defense/TSGT. Charles B. Tyler) #

A North Korean tankman lies dead on ground (lower left) amid knocked-out tanks on August 13, 1950 in Indong, Korea, North of Waegwan, after South Korean attack. (AP Photo) #

A salvo of 500-pound bombs leave the bomb bay of a B-29 headed for communist-controlled territory below. The first bombs from the first squadron over a 21 sq. mile area west of the Naktong River, South Korea on August 16, 1950 where North Korean troops were believed massing for an all-out assault on the American lines. 98 B-29's dropped more than 850 tons of bombs on the area. (AP Photo) #

Navy AD-3 dive bomber (top center) pulls out of dive after dropping a 2,000 lb. bomb on Korean side of a bridge crossing the Yalu River at Sinuiju, into Manchuria on November 15th, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/U.S. Navy) #

This view shows a command post somewhere in South Korea on July 12, 1950 as American soldiers keep on the alert with their straw-covered camouflaged weapons carrier. (AP Photo/Charles P. Gorry) #

Smoke rises from the ruins of the village of Agok the northern region of South Korea in August 1950. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Two North Korean prisoners captured during fighting for Yongsan on September 2, 1950 sit on jeep hood under guard of U.S. second division infantrymen as they are taken to the rear in the Naktong River sector of Korea. (AP Photo) #

This U.S. Army photograph, once classified "top secret", is one of a series depicting the summary execution of 1,800 South Korean political prisoners by the South Korean military at Taejon, South Korea, over three days in July 1950. Historians and survivors claim South Korean troops executed many civilians behind frontlines as U.N. forces retreated before the North Korean army in mid-1950, on suspicion that they were communist sympathizers and might collaborate with the advancing enemy. (AP Photo/National Archives, Major Abbott/U.S. Army) #

Four LST's unload men and equipment on beach in Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950. (AP Photo) #

General Douglas MacArthur, in passenger seat wearing leather jacket, tours the newly opened Inchon Front in Western Korea on Sept. 19, 1950 during the Korean War. Accompanying him are, Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond, left, Tenth Corps Commander, and Vice Adm. Arthur D. Struble, Fifth Fleet Commander. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps) #

General views of burned city of Taejon on Sept. 30, 1950. (AP Photo/Jim Pringle) #

Prisoners are flushed out by a U.S. patrol operating in North Korea south of Kusong, Nov. 16, 1950. This is a Life Magazine Photo by Hank Walker. (AP Photo/Hank Walker) #

Doctors operate on a Marine wounded in Korean fighting on June 25th, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/TSGT. Robert H. Mosier) #

After civilians reported that North Koreans had taken cover inside, a U.S. Marine throws a grenade into a Seoul tunnel, in September 1950. A machine gunner and rifleman cover the cave entrance. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Bodies of some 400 Korean civilians lie in and around trenches in Taejon's prison yard during the Korean War in Sept. 1950. The victims were bound and slain by retreating Communist forces before the 24th U.S. Division troops recaptured the city Sept. 28. Witnesses said that the prisoners were forced to dig their own trench graves before the slaughter. Looking on, at left, is Gordon Gammack, war correspondent of the Des Moines Register and Tribune. (AP Photo/James Pringle) #

Koreans huddle in the street amid rubble and debris after fighting in Seoul, September 1950. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Paratroopers drop from U.S. Air Force C-119 transport planes during an operation over an undisclosed location in Korea, in October 1950. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Paratroopers of the United Nations forces jump from aircraft near the North Korean towns of Sukchon and Sunchon, about Oct. 20, 1950. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

An American tank crashes roughshod through an enemy roadblock near Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 7, 1950, as 7th Division infantrymen prepare to exploit the breakthrough and put an end to enemy sniper fire in this sector of the Korean front. (AP Photo) #

Trees stripped by artillery and aerial bombardment stand like match sticks in this air view of hill 931 on Oct. 22, 1950, one of the main peaks which dominated Heartbreak Ridge in Korea. The complex system of communist trenches and bunkers are visible. This hill was taken twice by U.N. forces, the last time on October 6 by elements of the 23rd U.S. Regiment and a French Battalion. (AP Photo/GS) #

The bodies of more than 60 South Korean civilians bludgeoned to death in a mine shaft at Kum Bong San, near Tube-ni, Korea, Oct. 19, 1950. The Army said the victims were slain by Communist led North Korean forces who took them from a prison at Chinnampo. The bodies were discovered by U.N. troops. (AP Photo) #

British and Australian troops search houses in Hwangju on Oct. 17, 1950 in mopping up operations during the drive toward Pyongyang, Capital of North Korea. (AP Photo/Max Desfor ) #

Landing boats loaded with U.S. soldiers speed through the mine-infested waters of Wonsan harbor toward the North Korean east coast city on Oct. 26, 1950. About 50,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines hit the beach to bolster Allied forces driving toward the Manchurian border. (AP Photo/Gene Herrick) #

In this Dec. 4, 1950 file photo, residents from Pyongyang, North Korea, and refugees from other areas crawl perilously over shattered girders of the city's bridge, as they flee south across the Taedong River to escape the advance of Chinese Communist troops. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Chinese communist troops, wearing tennis sneakers, rags and American footgear, surrender to Charley Company, 7th Marines, south of Koto-ri, on December 9th, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/SGT. F.C. Kerr) #

Close coordination of the United States Marine air and ground units during recent fighting with Chinese Communists in Korea. United States Marines drive forward after effective close air support of F4U-5 Corsairs on December 26th, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/CPL. P. McDonald) #

Bodies of U.S. Marines, British Royal Marines Soldiers and Republic of Korea troops are gathered for a mass burial at Koto-ri on December 8th, 1950. (U.S. Department of Defense/SGT. F.C. Kerr) #

An F86 Sabre Jet peels off for an attack on a communist troop and supply concentration in the snow-covered Korean village below on January 28th, 1951. (AP Photo) #

A pair of bound hands and a breathing hole in the snow at Yangji, Korea, Jan. 27, 1951 reveal the presence of the body of a Korean civilian shot and left to die by retreating Communists during the Korean War. (AP Photo/Max Desfor) #

Canadian riflemen catch up on the hometown news while waiting for orders to move up against the Chinese communist forces on the Korean front on Feb. 29, 1951. (AP Photo) #

Supply warehouses and dock facilities at this important east coast port feel the destructive weight of bombs dropped from Fifth Air Force's B-26 Invader light bombers, Wonsan, North Korea in 1951. (U.S. Department of Defense/USIA) #

A 25th Division tank uses a flame thrower on an enemy pillbox deeply emplaced in a hillside near Korea's Han River front on March 30, 1951. (AP Photo) #

British Royal Marines Commandos, put ashore by a U.S. naval vessel deep in the heart of North Korea, plant demolition charges along an enemy rail track on April 13, 1951 near Songjin, South Korea during a daring daylight raid. About 100 yards of the vital Chinese Communist rail line were destroyed within a few miles of two enemy divisions. (AP Photo) #

Thatched huts go up in flames after B-26 bombers unload napalm bombs on an enemy supply collection point near Hanchon in North Korea on May 10, 1951. (AP Photo) #

Wearied by long marches on foot, a Turkish U.N. solider sits astride a mule he took from an enemy soldier in Korea on May 5, 1951. He ambushed the advancing Chinese and grabbed the mule for use in directing stragglers to the rear in ruins of Uijongbu during the recent communist offensive. (AP Photo/Robert Schutz) #

Three Korean Communists in a fishing boat are captured by the USS Manchester off the coast of Korea. May 10, 1951. (U.S. Department of Defense/U.S. Navy) #

A dead Chinese soldier, his burned uniform still smoking, lies with bodies of his comrades at a collection point near Chunchon on May 17, 1951 after allied forces had stemmed the major enemy attack near the town on Korea's central front. (AP Photo/ENJ) #

Columns of light stab the night as U.S. rockets thunder toward Communist-held targets in Wonsan, Korean port city on July 1, 1951. The fire trails brilliantly lit the ship and could be followed by sight as they struck their targets. (AP Photo/DOD) #

A U.S. Marine dives for cover in his bunker as a communist 82 millimeter mortar shell scores a hit on a ridge in eastern Korea, April 8, 1952. (AP Photo/Edward A. McDade/U.S. Navy) #

GIs and Korean service corpsmen stack up the enormous pile of empty artillery and mortar shell casings at a collecting point near the front, pointing to the huge amount of lead thrown at the enemy in four days of fighting for outpost Harry, June 18, 1953. (AP Photo/Gene Smith) #

The interior of Bruce house - General William K. Harrison (left) and General Nam II (right) sign the armistice agreement which brought the Korean War to a close in Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. (AP Photo) #

Four tired, bearded and grimy U.S. Marines just off the fighting line on western Korean front, read good news in an official handout that armistice to end war was about to be signed at Panmunjom on July 26, 1953. Identifiable at right is PFC Thomas W. O'Connell of Hammond, Wisconsin. (AP Photo/George Sweers) #

In this photo taken on Tuesday, June 15, 2010, a South Korean Marine looks at the North Korean side as he stands guard on Baengnyeong Island, South Korea, near the border with North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #

A woman is reflected on the names of the people who died during the 1950-53 Korean War as she prays for the fallen sailors from the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul June 20, 2010. (REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak) #