2ID Soldiers clean up Sincheon River

by Cpl. SeoWon Lee
U.S. Army

DONGDUCHEON, South Korea - Citizens wearing clothes of different colors, each color representing the community they belong to, and U.S. Soldiers in universal camouflage gathered along the Sincheon River March 19 to clean out trash and litter at Dongducheon, South Korea.

Approximately 300 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and 210th Fires Brigade and 100 citizens from different South Korean volunteer organizations came out. Organizations participating included the Dongducheon multicultural volunteer community and the Korean senior citizen community etc.

Before the cleaning began, the city threw biodegradable balls, which contain microorganisms, into the river to improve the quality of the water.

"As everyone is aware, this land is not just for us," said Oh Se-chang, the mayor of Dongducheon. " ... We must keep this land clean. Nature is not something we should take for granted. We inherited it from our ancestors and so we should be able to pass it on to our sons and daughters."

"Dongducheon city holds this event every year to clean up trash that piled up along the riverside during winter time," said Jo Lee-hyun, the environmental protection manager of Dongducheon. "This is a large-scaled cleaning activity that works with the help from 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers and other volunteer communities within Dongducheon city."

Interacting with the local communities is crucial for the Army to successfully complete their missions in foreign nations. Community events, such as the river cleanup, definitely help strengthen the South Korean-U.S. alliance.

"I think it [cleaning up for the local community] builds a stronger bond because the local community will know that we are here to help them ... by making the city and the country look better," said Pvt. Anthony Bell from Company A, 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st ABCT, 2nd Infantry Division.

The Sincheon River, which flows through the city center, has served as a recreational area as well as a water resource for the city. For many citizens, the river contains many memories.

"This river is very important for us," said Seo Kyu-jeong, the director of Angel Recreation Center. "I remember when I used to swim here when I was young. It brings me sad feelings to think of how the river has been contaminated."

"We really appreciate their [U.S. Army Soldiers'] efforts in helping us," said Jo. "It is a government employees' duty to keep the whole city clean, but it is very hard for us to do because of limited numbers we have. I would like to thank Soldiers for sacrificing their time to help our society."

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