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The 1950's
The DMZ - New Life in No Man's Land



The DMZ - New Life in No Man's Land
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    rivalry, russia, skyline, martial, bloody, shortly, species, stance, truce, military, cease-fire, invisible, ideal, attack, remain, certainly
     content words:    North Korea, South Korea, When Japan, Demilitarized Zone, South Korean, North Korean


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The DMZ - New Life in No Man's Land
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     In Asia, there are two countries called Korea. One is North Korea. The other is South Korea. At one time, the countries were one nation. Korea had become a colony of Japan. When Japan was defeated in WWII, the nation was split.
 
2     Russia and the U.S. each took half. They tried to help Korea learn to take care of itself. Then the two halves had a bitter, bloody war. After three years of fighting, both sides agreed on a truce. The cease-fire was signed in July 1953.
 
3     Though they stopped shooting at each other, the two Koreas weren't on friendly terms. Each was afraid the other might attack at any time. A border was put up between them. This border was a strip of land five miles wide. It was called the Demilitarized Zone. (Demilitarized means that no military action, or fighting, was allowed in this zone.) The Zone is often called the DMZ.
 
4     Korea now looked a bit like a finger with a band aid across the middle. Tall fences were put up on the north and south sides of the zone. Guards with dogs patrolled the fences. No one was allowed on the "band aid." No one could cross from one Korea into the other. Since 1953, human feet have walked in very few places inside the DMZ.
 
5     One place where people are allowed in the DMZ is Panmunjom. In the war, this village was nearly blasted from the face of the earth. Later, officials from the two warring parties met in one of its ruined buildings. It was here that they finally agreed to a cease-fire.
 
6     The "truce village" has a few new buildings. They are long and narrow. The North/South line runs through the middle of the buildings, just like it does through Korea. On one side, soldiers of North Korea stand guard. On the other side are South Korean guards.
 
7     Visitors may enter, but they are not allowed to speak to guards. In most places, snapping a picture is not allowed, either. The soldiers never smile, move, or speak. Their eyes are invisible behind mirrored sun glasses. They stand with legs braced in a martial arts stance. They are meant to look scary, and they do.
 
8     Officials from both sides meet in the buildings from time to time. They talk about peace between the two Koreas.

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