By Walter T. Ham IV, 8th U.S. Army Public AffairsJuly 29, 2009
JOINT SECURITY AREA, Panmunjom, South Korea - Leaders from the nations that repelled communist aggression in South Korea commemorated the 56th anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice at a ceremony here July 27.
The ceremony was attended by U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens; United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Walter L. Sharp; United Nations Command officials and Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission representatives.
"This was a great way to commemorate the armistice," said Lt. Col. John Rhodes, commander of the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area. "It also gave us a chance the highlight the important work of the ROK-U.S. Alliance."
The ceremony was held in the NNSC Conference Room in a building that straddles the Military Demarcation Line, the de facto border. Following the ceremony, participants posed for pictures in front of the MDL. A few feet behind them and past a shoulder-to-shoulder cordon of UNC Security Battalion Soldiers, a group of North Korean soldiers held their own photo session.
The 1953 armistice brought the costly three-year conflict to a close but was never followed by a peace treaty. The Joint Security Area is the only place in the 155-mile-long and 2 A,A1/2 mile-wide Korean Demilitarized Zone where military-level meetings are held between the United Nations Command and the North Korean People's Army.
Several national and international media outlets covered the armistice ceremony, including Channel One News, an educational broadcast network that airs in middle and high schools across the U.S.