CAMP RED CLOUD, Republic of Korea -- A feeling of nostalgia echoed throughout the room as onlookers witnessed the historic presentation of prior community gatherings during the final tribute.
The 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division hosted its final Camp Red Cloud Chuseok Reception to reminisce the enduring ROK-U.S. partnership and celebrate traditional Korean customs with members of the local community at Mitchell's Grill Sept. 20.
Local Korean friends, government officials, ROK Soldiers, U.S. Soldiers, and family members attended the reception.
"Tonight, we are going to celebrate two different things," said Maj. Gen. D. Scott McKean, San Jose, California native and commanding general, 2ID/RUCD. "We are here to celebrate Chuseok as a part culture and educating our Soldiers, many of which are serving for the first time in Korea, to understand the culture of our host. We are also celebrating our time as guests in Uijeongbu, as this is our final event that we will host at Camp Red Cloud."
The uniquely Korean holiday known as Chuseok, meaning "autumn eve," is celebrated at the end of the harvest while paying tribute to one's ancestors for a fruitful year. It is a time to give thanks, exchange gifts, gather with family and friends, and enjoy a grand feast.
Guests enjoyed a variety of traditional Korean cuisine, including the savory rice cake called "songpyeon," and "jeon," which is a beef pancake.
The event encouraged service members and their families to immerse themselves more in the surrounding culture. Many females arrived wearing traditional Korean dresses called "hanbok."
Some guests exchanged gifts, mostly food-related products, to celebrate the end of the 2018 'harvest.'
"Koreans believe positive energy will lead to a bountiful harvest for the family," said Korean Augmentation for the U.S. Army Cpl. An, Sang Heon, Daegu native and civil affairs specialist. "Giving gifts during this holiday is a great opportunity to express gratitude."
McKean presented Uijeongbu Mayor Ahn, Byung Yong with a framed gift during the reception.
"2ID exemplified what it truly means to be in the blood-forged alliance," said Ahn, Byung Yong. "Through the gift I received from Maj. Gen. McKean, I was able to remember once again how warm our friendship has been and it will always be remembered and cherished in my heart."
The reception concluded with a tribute, looking back on past Chuseok Receptions and memories shared between the Uijeongbu community and members of Camp Red Cloud, which has been home to 2ID/RUCD for the past 53 years.
"On behalf of Uijeongbu City and citizens, we will forever be grateful for 2ID's devotion and friendship to all of us," said Ahn, Byung Yong. "It is sad that 2ID will be relocated to Pyeongteak, but please remember that citizens of Uijeongbu, no matter where 2ID Soldiers are in Korea, will always bring the kindness and happiness that we built together."
In the spirit of Chuseok, McKean offered a toast where all in attendance echoed "katchi kapshida" -- we go together -- resonating that the unwavering alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States will continue a devotion to shared values and common purpose.