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How could we forget

"A lot of the younger generation don't care about what happened," says Lee, 41, a publicity worker. "But if we don't learn about the past, we can repeat the same history."

It was here in 1951 that 400 soldiers were forced to retreat from a North Korean attack in the Sula mountains, wading through a freezing river and without supplies in snowy March. One hundred twenty men died on March 25th alone, says former Commander Jeon In Sik.

"I feel I should love this country more," says a beaming Kim Hui Jung, 9.

"We're the only divided country in the world," he says. "The war isn't over and we receive many North Korean threats, tension is high recently. The young must have awareness of national security."

From the bombed out ruins of the 1950s, South Korea has soared in recent decades to become today's hi tech, trend setting powerhouse, the world's 13th largest economy. This summer, South Korea marks the 60th anniversary of the July 27 1953 armistice that brought a cease fire, but no peace treaty, leaving the Koreas technically still at war today. help in repelling North Korean and Chinese forces. Unlike in the United States, the war is far from forgotten here. However, there is widespread concern that younger generations fail to grasp how important the war is to their freedoms and way of life and how the enemy then remains on the border today in the form of the North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, son of dictator Kim Joung Il and grandson of dictator Kim Il Sung.

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The worry that many South Koreans forget this underlies many official and private efforts to spread awareness of the war and its immense human sacrifice.

The natural beauty of Yongdae ri, in Gangwon do province east of Seoul, draws tourists and adventure sport fans year round. It also draws the elderly survivors of the White Skull special forces military unit.

"There would be no food, no life, we would be stuck in one country without commu nication with the outside world," he says. "But in South Korea we love freedom and democracy, that's why we can develop so much."

Park Jong Wang, chief of the commemoration office for the 60th anniversary at South Korea's Ministry of Patriots Converse Black Shoes For Women

"We didn't have any interest before," he admits. "We want to tell teenagers you should know what happened before and be grateful for what we have."

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´╗┐Grateful South Koreans mark war anniversary

"One man sat on a rock, said 'this is my house,' and refused to move," remembers Kwan Tae Jong, 85, a farmer whose knowledge of which wild plants were edible helped him survive.

"We were walking and when one fell down, he stayed there, we had to keep going," he says.

At Seoul's vast War Memorial of Korea, which reminds visitors that "Freedom is not free," Lee Kyung Eun and colleagues prepare a new exhibition for the anniversary, titled "How could we forget."

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White Skull race against time for medals

Korean War. and other United Nations soldiers died here in Heartbreak Ridge, Bloody Ridge and other clashes. Every year, search crews turn up the remains of dozens of casualties.

and Veterans Affairs, says the level of ignorance "is not that alarming." He says South Korea is succeeding in using digital media channels to connect with the young, he says.

"We have seen the memories that you should never forget," Im states twice before class is dismissed.

Bones are not the only contemporary reminders of the war. Explosions still rock the silence here when wild boars trigger landmines Converse Shoes For Boys in the 1.2 mile wide Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, says local farmer Byun Myung Mo. and South Korean troops.

The conditions left no room for compassion. Lacking sufficient food to keep prisoners, and worried they would alert the enemy, Jeon says he shot 309 North Korean soldiers they captured during the war.

PUNCHBOWL, South Korea Standing on the Punchbowl's rim, Seoul day tripper Yoon In Ae looks across a thickly forested valley into North Korea ?? and shudders.

"It's strange and scary. I always imagined what North Korea was like, mostly hunger. Now it's so close, it scares me," says Yoon, 57, quickly returning to her tour bus. soldiers, witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the 1950 53 Converse Shoes High Cut For Girls

At Seoul National Cemetery, where visitors flock to mark Memorial Day, June 6, Seong Joo Kim, 16 and his film club classmates from a Seoul high school shoot a video about Korean history.

In a noisy classroom, 40 elementary pupils find history fun as naval lieutenant Im Jae Woo, 30, shows how to build a model patrol boat. After two hours of war history knowledge, Im asks one boy what he learned.

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Some went mad from hunger.

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decades on, North Korea still appears in war mode. This year the regime of Kim Jung Un took its bellicose threats to ever shriller extremes, vowing to turn the South into a "sea of fire" for holding military exercises with the USA, which has 28,000 troops in South Korea to defend the border. Pyongyang has also defied demands from the United Nations that it cease its nuclear and long range missile tests.

Looking back into South Korea from the Ulji Observation Post, the patchwork of dark ginseng fields and other crops presents a picture of rural prosperity. post war food support and now earns $10,000 a month growing tomatoes.

A Gallup Korea survey in January found 23% of respondents in their 20s knew little or nothing about the Korean War. Some Koreans fear that could spell disaster for a nation with the neighbor from hell, a closed society that starves its own people and fills them with propaganda about the hated South.

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