By Staff Sgt. Cashmere C. JeffersonMarch 25, 2014
CAMP WALKER, South Korea--As part of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's 21st annual Korean American Friendship Circle, Soldiers, Families, student's, and sponsors came together March 15, at the USAG Daegu Evergreen Community Center here to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
The KAFC program is a unique opportunity for U.S. and Korean families to share their cultural experiences by planning activities right here in Area IV. It is a great way to make friends and provides a way to bridge the cultural gap between the two countries.
With over 200 people in attendance many Korean students had a lot questions about St. Patrick's Day, especially why the color worn for celebration is green.
Col. Johnney Matthews, commander of Materiel Support Command Korea, 19th ESC gave a short history lesson, "from about 1812 to 1912, 4.5 million Irishman migrated and settled on the east coast and as the Irish settled in the United States they brought along with them some of their customs and practices," said Matthews. "These communities celebrated St. Patrick's Day and it eventually spread throughout America."
He answered the student's question about the color green, saying it was customary to wear shamrocks or green accessories to honor the day, and went on demonstrate the consequence of not wearing green by "pinching" a participant.
The host of the event, Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, commanding general of the 19th ESC emphasized the importance or sharing American traditions and providing a venue where everyone can have fun and get to know each other.
Farmen proposed a toast in honor of St. Patrick's Day and instructed the crowd to raise their cups, full of green drinks, to yell "Sláinte" on the count of three, a word literally translating as "health" and is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland.
Traditional Irish dishes were served during the celebrations for everyone to enjoy like corn beef, cabbage, shepard's pie, and more as Soldiers, Families, and college students gathered at large tables to share their meals and build new relationships.
Jung Won Hee, a student from Kyungpook National University majoring in English said, "I have never celebrated St. Patrick's Day before, and this is my first time eating this kind of food so I was excited to try everything. It was amazing to see native American's socializing with us and meeting new people."
Jung said was she extremely impressed by how the event was put together, "the color green is beautiful and seeing everyone wearing green, and decorating the party with it created a great atmosphere for everything."