Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Panmunjom was a village in Korea, now located on the border of North and South Korea.
In reality, the village of Panmunjom no longer exists. It was destroyed in the Korean War and never rebuilt. However, the name is used to refer to the Joint Security Area, which still exists to this day and is still used to negotiate peace.
This Joint Security area was where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, which created an essential cease-fire for negotiations for a final peace agreement, which was never finalized. This armistice created the Military Demarcation Line, which is now essentially the border for the two Korea countries.
The Bridge of No Return is also nearby. This bridge was where POWs were given the choice of either returning to their home country or staying behind in their captor’s land. Once the choice was made to return, there was no going back.
This Joint Security Area is where “Operation Paul Bunyan” took place. 3 days after two American soldiers were killed by North Korean forces while trimming a tree, over 200 men came to protect tree-cutters from the North Koreans soldiers. No further violence ensued, but tensions continued to rise between the North and the South.