Nightly News   |  July 27, 2013

Solemn ceremonies mark war anniversary in South Korea

In South Korea, the commemoration of the Korean War was solemn, designed to remember the dead and thank the 21 countries who gave their support. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> this is ian williams in seoul. here in south korea the commemorations were more solemn. signs to remember the dead and thanks for the 21 countries that gave them support. the country's president warning that peace remains uncertain. at least 36,000 americans died in just three years of combat. for american veterans, this was a chance to honor their fallen comrades from what's often called the forgotten war to look for friends among the names of the dead.

>> i think that we've probably with this korean war prevented world war iii .

>> reporter: we joined one group of veterans revisiting the dmz and their old battle fields.

>> thank you very much. i appreciate that.

>> reporter: formally greeted by the south korean soldiers who now defend this frontline.

>> that would have been a french.

>> reporter: dan peterson spent much of his war in the trenches confronting the waves of chinese troops that had come to the aid of the north. this classic movie " pork chop hill " depicts the first phase of the battle that peter has experienced firsthand.

>> that's where the chinese were within 300 yards of us. we didn't know they were there.

>> reporter: then visiting the preserved ruins of the local communist headquarters.

>> there aren't many of these remnants left in south korea , but at the end of the war , much of the country, including the capital seoul, looked pretty much like this. but now a prosperous and thriving democracy.

>> 60 years ago there weren't any buildings here. not anything like this. no.

>> reporter: changes that for many american veterans are a vindication of