The Korean War truce 60 years later: Celebration vs. commemoration

Updated
By Emily DeCiccio
North Korean soldiers stand in formation as they take part in a military parade past Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war...
North Korean soldiers stand in formation as they take part in a military parade past Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war...
Ed JonesEd Jones/AFP/Getty

Celebrations marking the 60-year anniversary to the end of the Korean War on Saturday demonstrated the stark contrast between how North and South Korea honor the day.

“The two Koreas mark today’s anniversary in a very, very different way,” NBC’s Ian Williams told msnbc host Alex Witt.

One celebrates while the other commemorates. North Korean Leader Kim Jung Un was joined by Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao for a massive military parade in Pyongyang that heralded anniversary as a victory for the North.

The parade featured goose-stepping soldiers, ornate displays of weaponry, fighter-jet fly-overs, and rows of on-lookers. It was the latest show of military force by Pyongyang in recent months.

Williams says conversely, the South treats the North’s display with a shrug, and commemorates the armistice in a “more low-key and solemn way. Instead of celebrating they remember the dead and they also give thanks to the 21 countries that fought side by side with the South.”

He notes the presence of American veterans in South Korea, now in their 80s, visiting the battlefields and remembering their sacrifice. The so-called “Forgotten War” cost 37,000 American lives.

President Obama is expected to mark the anniversary by delivering remarks on Saturday at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.

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The Korean War truce 60 years later: Celebration vs. commemoration

Updated