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Just before dawn on June 25, 1950, North Korean troops stormed across the 38th Parallel, the border that divides the communist north from the capitalist south. The U.S. quickly intervened, backed by other U.N. members. Seoul would change hands four times. When the truce was finally signed in 1953, the entire peninsula lay in ruins.

Nearly 37,000 Americans lost their lives in a conflict over communism. History remembers it as a forgotten war. Often eclipsed by World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War caused more than 2.8 million casualties—from the southern port of Pusan to the mountains of North Korea.

Sixty-five years after an armistice ended the fighting, veterans and civilians remind us why the conflict is worth remembering.