North Korea just delivered the remains of 55 U.S. soldiers to South Korea

Exactly 65 years after the end of the Korean war, these soldiers are headed home.

55 caskets, covered in United Nations blue flags, have been sent from North Korea to the Osan Air Base in South Korea, in order to eventually be returned to the United States.


Retired Air Force veteran Ernest Lee of Cherry Hill, N.J., who was in Osan just for the occasion, summed up the day: “It’s time to bring them home.”  

The fallen soldiers are all from the 1950-53 Korean War. A total of 36,000 U.S. soldiers died during the war, while 7,700 U.S. soldiers are listed as missing from those years, and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea. 

The United States will fly the caskets to Hawaii and begin to identify the soldiers with DNA testing, so they can get to their proper resting places across the country. In the past, some caskets returned in the same manner contained animal bones as well as those of people who were not U.S. troops. 


U.S. soldiers salute to vehicles transporting the remains of 55 U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, after arriving from North Korea at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on July 27, 2018. (Photo: AHN YOUNG-JOON/AFP/Getty Images)

Because there are still a vast number of remains that North Korea hasn’t released yet, it’s not clear if this is a huge step in the tentative detente between the two countries, or instead a smaller, token effort; since Kim Jong-un met with our current president, there has been an expansion in facilities that produce fissile material, as well as an increase in those making components for solid-fuel missiles. Indeed, the “denuclearization” negotiations are stuck as of right now, so it's unknown whether or not this is a sign of improvement.

The repatriation ceremony for the 55 soldiers will be held August 1 in South Korea. 

August 1950: Lieutenant Commander Orlando Ingvoldstad Jr. reads the last rites over the grave of PFC John Stewart Albert in Korea, attended by the fallen man's brothers PFC Russell A. A. Albert (left) and PFC William H. Albert. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • There are 2 different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.
  • One is a morality/order approach. The other is a bottom-up approach.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright says there are many benefits to having no one central authority on what is appropriate speech.

USA ranked 27th in the world in education and healthcare—down from 6th in 1990

America continues to tread water in healthcare and education while other countries have enacted reforms to great effect.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The American healthcare and education systems are known to need some work, but a new study suggests we've fallen far in comparison to the rest of the world.
  • The findings show what progress, if any, 195 countries have made over the last twenty years
  • The study suggests that economic growth is tied to human capital, which gives a dire view of America's economic prospects.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
  • Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
  • Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.