US/ROK celebrate 12th annual Korean American Friendship Festival

by Senior Airman Kristin High, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan Air Base

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of Team Osan and the surrounding local communities recently engaged in a cultural exchange during the 12th annual Korean American Friendship Festival, Oct. 17 and 18.

The festival, hosted by the Songtan Chamber of Commerce, is a two-day event held each fall to celebrate the partnership of the U.S. and the ROK. It also provides an opportunity for both cultures to learn about each other.

"The event is all about the community, both for the service members and families of Team Osan, and also for the citizens of Songtan and the surrounding areas," said Col. Andrew Hansen, 51st Fighter Wing commander. "Although we do not share a common language, our ability to come together, is what brings true value and strength to the Korean and U.S. alliance.

"Our community was built on the idea that our two nations could work, live and prosper together side-by-side," he continued. "The servicemen and women at Osan Air Base stand ready to support and defend the Republic of Korea, against all enemies and threats, not just because that is our mission, but because it is the right thing to do."

Thousands of Americans and Koreans gathered for the festival which was held just outside the base gates in the Songtan Entertainment District.

This year's festival featured Taekwondo practitioners, American and Korean stage performers, entertainment booths, and cultural foods. Some vendors even taught attendees how to make Kimchi, a traditional fermented Korean side dish.

"This Korean American Friendship Festival serves as a venue for harmonization in promoting communication and understanding of one another's culture and it also plays a key part in facilitating friendship between the local community and [United States Forces Korea]," said Kong, Jae-kwang, Pyeongtaek City mayor. "I hope both parties will grow into genuine neighbors going beyond language and cultural differences through the event."

The festival slogan is "Gatchi kapshida, Choen eeut doepshida" which translates to "We go together, Be a good neighbor."

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