Yongsan soldiers lend a helping hand before Chuseok
SEOUL, Republic of Korea -- Soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan participated in making 'Songpyeon,' a traditional Korean Rice cake, and shared them with single-parent families and elderly Koreans, living by themselves, Sept. 24.
This meaningful event helped strengthen the ROK-US Alliance by allowing U.S. Soldiers to participate and interact with the local Korean Community.
Soldiers moved from Yongsan to Siheung 1 dong, Geumchun-gu, to participate in the event. A great number of Korean volunteers and staff members welcomed the Soldiers and explained the meaning of 'Chuseok.'
After a welcoming Korean traditional fan dance performance and a brief explanation of how to make 'Songpyeon,' the Soldiers and volunteers started making the Korean treat. Since it was the first time for many of the U.S. Soldiers to make 'Songpyeon,' they made many mistakes, but with the help of volunteers and staff members, they managed to make a large number of delicious 'Songpyeon.'
After making 'Songpyeon,' Soldiers delivered the treats along with other holiday treats to the elderly people who lived alone. Soldiers and volunteers greeted the elderly Community members with a deep bow, the Korean way to display respect to elders. The elders greeted them back cheerfully.
"I have never had foreigners in my house before," said Mr. Kim, an elderly man in his mid-eighties, who lived by himself. "It is so good to see them and to also celebrate 'Chuseok' together. I am so grateful for what Soldiers are doing here in Korea, far away from their home country."
Through this event, U.S. Soldiers learned about Korean tradition and society.
"By sharing greetings and making something together, U.S. Soldiers and Korean Community members can foster friendship," said Sung Pil Moon, a director for the event. "By spending time together, they could realize that we are all same people, an understanding that would lead to loving each other".
Soldiers who participated in this event expressed how meaningful their experience was.
"Today was an amazing experience," Sgt. Angel Rivera, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, said. "I learned about Korean tradition, especially how to make 'Songpyeon' and was able to share some with Korean elderly citizens. I think that through today's event, the Korean people could see that U.S. soldiers were here not only to defend, but that we were also very interested in learning about Korean traditions. We want to learn about the Korean tradition as much as we want to teach about American traditions."