The author of this remembrance is a well-known critic of US and RoK security policies with whom many DMZ War readers would likely differ. But he’s a long-time and keen observer of the Peninsula. This article is worth it for the pictures alone of 1960 along the DMZ, including the then- and now-photos of author Tim Shorrock at the JSA “pagoda.”
“I first visited the DMZ in 1960, a year after my father moved our family from Tokyo to Seoul to run the Korea division of Church World Service, America’s largest private relief organization. To an impressionable nine-year-old, it was an unforgettable experience: the DMZ was the front line of the Cold War and offered a rare glimpse into the deadly standoff between the United States and the communist world that I heard about every day on the radio.
Just a few miles out of Seoul, we could see soldiers manning artillery and tanks, all with their armaments pointing north. As our school bus entered the control zone in the southern side of the DMZ, a uniformed U.S. Army officer in bright aviator sunglasses, accompanied by two Korean soldiers, clambered aboard to check our passports. Once at the border, we could see the eerie ‘Bridge of No Return’ across the Imjin River, which thousands of POWs crossed on their way home from one of the most destructive wars in history…”