Soldiers make songpyeon, deliver smiles
September 17, 2013
Seoul, REPUBLIC OF KOREA -- Soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan celebrated the National Korean holiday, Chuseok, by making songpyeon with local volunteers at Geumchun Senior Welfare Center and shared it with the underprivileged elders, Sept. 11.
Area II Soldiers volunteer to help the local community throughout the year, particularly during the Chuseok holiday season. This year 30 soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company USAG Yongsan (HHC USAG-Y) travelled to Siheung 1dong, Geumchun-gu to participate in the annual philanthropic event.
Welcoming performances of traditional dance and martial arts organized by Seoul Geumchun Senior welfare center set the tone for the day's event.With a brief explanation of how to make songpyeon, the soldiers and civilian volunteers began making the Korean treat. KATUSAs translated for the U.S. Soldiers and elderly volunteers. Together they managed to make enough songpyeon to deliver to local incapacitated elderly citizens and a little extra to enjoy for themselves.
"It is very meaningful to have U.S. soldiers here and make songpyeon together," said Koo Ja-hoon, director of Seoul Geumchun Senior Welfare Center. "It is a Korean tradition to make songpyeon with your family or relatives before Chuseok; it feels like we all became one big family. I really enjoy sharing this wonderful tradition with the Soldiers."
At the end of the event Soldiers delivered the treats, along with other holiday goodies, to the local elders who live alone. Carrying bags of rice and walking the hills of the city, Soldiers and volunteers wished happy Chuseok for the seniors and made a deep bow, the Korean way to display respect to elders.
"It was a great experience," said Pfc. Brandon Garland, Soldier from HHC USAG-Y. "I enjoyed making songpyeon, but most of all, it was really nice to have an opportunity to talk with the elders, share thoughts and listen to their life stories."