DONGDUCHEON, South Korea - Soldiers got the opportunity to visit cultural sites and learn about the unique history of Korea during a two-day cultural trip hosted by the city of Dongducheon, South Korea.
Soldiers from 1st Squadron "Garryowen," 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, visited cultural and historic sites in Dongducheon and Seoul, South Korea, from July 21-22.
"Cultural learning opportunities, events, and trips like these provide Ironhorse Solders and Families knowledge about Korean traditions and norms," said Capt. James Nance, civil affairs officer, 1st ABCT. "Our Soldiers participation and dedication to learning about the people and history of the Korean peninsula aides in enhancing public trust, confidence, and active support for the 1ABCT mission here in Korea."
Participants began the two-day long adventure with a trip to a Dongducheon Manners Center in Dongducheon where they learned about a few clothing options for significant events in current and historic South Korea.
Garryowen Soldiers donned "Hanbok," traditional Korean clothing characterized by vibrant colors and expressive accessories. Primarily from the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, the traditional clothing is used for ceremonial events or traditional festivals.
In an effort to maintain its rich history, the South Korean Ministry of Culture actually made "Hanbok Day" to encourage all South Koreans to wear Hanbok. Additionally, there are several major cultural centers such as the Imperial Palace in Seoul, South Korea, where wearing Hanbok during your visit will allow you free entrance.
It is not uncommon for Hanbok to still be worn during events such as weddings, Lunar New Year, annual ancestral rights and the birth of a child. The word "Hanbok" can literally be translated to "Korean clothing".
Later in the day Soldiers were bused to the Freedom Protection Peace Museum in Dongducheon, South Korea. The Museum is primarily dedicated to the remembrance of the Korean War, fought from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, until an Armistice was reached.
For lunch, Soldiers got to sample Korean dishes, including Bibimbap, a dish of thinly sliced beef in a bowl with seasoned vegetables and rice.
Following lunch, Soldiers visited the South Korean Imperial Palace, also called Gyeongbok Palace, which was the main royal palace during the "Joseon Dynasty," from 1392 to 1897. Originally built in 1395, it has been improved and repaired over many centuries.
The journey ended with a guided tour of the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, South Korea. Soldiers carved their own traditional Korean seals. Called a "Dojang," the seals are used to this day to sign important documents like wills, and deeds for property.
"The amount of work and preparation the city of Dongducheon put forth for complete strangers truly showed us the heart of Korea and her people," said Spc. Sean Lee, cavalry scout, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Bn., 12th Cav. Reg.