Arbor Day ceremonies signify U.S., Korea Good Neighbor alliance
April 1, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - U.S. Army and Yongsan government officials gathered March 27 to celebrate Arbor Day at Yongsan Garrison and at Namsan Botanical Garden in Seoul.
"On behalf of the United States Forces in Korea, we take great pride in sharing this activity with you," said Col. Dave Hall, USAG-Yongsan commander, during the ceremony. "I hope that the trees we plant today will grow tall and strong and stand as a beautiful symbol of the lasting friendship between our two great nations."
Yongsan District Mayor Park Jang-kyu said planting trees together would continue to strengthen relations between the United States and Korea.
Hall and Park, accompanied by officials and volunteers from both communities, started the morning by dedicating a commemoration monument and planting a pine tree near the heliport on Yongsan South Post.
The group then traveled to the Namsan Botanical Garden near the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul where they joined other municipal officials and district citizens.
"We put in a lot of effort to create green spaces and parks," said Park in his remarks at the ceremony. "I hope that the trees we plant today will grow beautifully and become a solid foundation to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Korea."
The group planted 18 cherry trees at Namsan, with help from about 100 U.S. Army and Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldiers and district citizens.
One of the participants, 1st Sgt. Darryl Wright, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG-Yongsan, said, "The good part of the event is that it does not matter what the culture or nationality was. It was all about the environment. It was good to see two different cultures come together and work together."
It also gave them a chance to interact with local community members.
Pfc. Kim Tae-kyung, a Korean Augmentation Soldier to the U.S. Army Soldier with HHC, USAG-Yongsan, said, "It was good opportunity to do something for the community and environment."
The Arbor Day event is one of the most traditional and cooperative activities between the U.S. Army and Korea, lasting more than 15 years to promote the strong relationship between the two nations, said An Chang-sin, USAG-Yongsan's community relations officer.
Koreans officially celebrate Arbor Day during the first week of April.