When the Soviets dropped the Iron Curtain at the end of World War II, the first major conflict to prevent the spread of Communism happened in the Koreas.
The United States found itself fighting another war just five years after helping topple the Third Reich and Japanese Empire.
The influence of Stalinism made its way into Asia, culminating in a war that would leave about three million people dead in three years.
The latest progress toward unification and peace in the region has the world’s attention, potentially ending a conflict dating back to 1953.
“I just couldn’t believe when I see pictures of Seoul Korea, I couldn’t imagine me being there then,” said Bob Metzler, retired U.S. Army.
For others, combat was all they knew.
“I think instead of stopping us, they should have let us go and clean them right out,” said Raymond Motiff (retired U.S. Army), who fought on the frontlines for nine months in 1952.
Local veterans who fought in the original conflict all those years ago are not holding their breath.
They say with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un it is never simple.
“Oh, I don’t know if I’d trust him or not,” said Metzler. “I think he just wants to get the best of everything.”
“The rocket man, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, myself,” said Ron Hedman, retired U.S. Marine Corps.
“He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth,” said Motiff. “And I wouldn’t believe anything he says.”
Time will tell.
Both North and South Korean leadership plan to meet again this fall.