There's a reason for the poignant name of this now run-down little bridge in the DMZ.
The bridge marked the spot where prisoners were exchanged at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Many POWs captured by the United States didn't want to return. They were brought to the bridge and told to choose whether to remain where they were or cross over to the other country. If they chose to cross the bridge, they would never be allowed to return.
The last time the bridge was used to return prisoners was in 1968, when when the crew of the USS Pueblo was released and ordered to cross into South Korea via the bridge.
The North Koreans used it until they murdered two U.S. army officers in charge of a tree-trimming detail with axes in 1976. The UN then demanded that the JSA (Joint Security Area) be more clearly demarcated and enforced, so the North Koreans built a new bridge and the Bridge of No Return was abandoned.
We also stopped briefly at a simple monument placed where the notorious tree once stood.