By Army Pvt. 1st Class Jacob Ward, AFN DaeguDecember 17, 2019
CAMP WALKER, Republic of Korea -- The United States Army Garrison Daegu brought some of the sights and sounds of the holiday season to the Camp Walker Chapel during their Christmas Cantata Dec. 14.
The holiday season is a time often shared with family and friends but can also have its challenges when stationed overseas. With the help of USAG Daegu, Area IV has found a way to make a difference for Service Members who may be away from their loved ones.
"This gives us an opportunity to serve the Soldiers and Families but also the DA civilians and their families." said Lt. Col. Alfred Grondski, the USAG Daegu garrison chaplain. "We want to help them celebrate this special time of the year.
The holiday season is normally a time where families come together to share the season. However many members of the Area IV community are unaccompanied. The realization of these facts shaped the foundation for this on-going tradition at Camp Walker.
"We all miss our families, and some Soldiers are here alone," said Erica Manning who was celebrating her third year on the peninsula. "It makes us remember why we celebrate Christmas, and it just provides a place for belonging during the holiday season."
Su Hui Grondski, the music director of the cantata, understands first-hand, as a native of South Korea and a military spouse, how important traditions are when celebrating the holidays overseas.
"I was also overseas when I was in America… far from home, and I remember anything to do with home culture, something to do with Korea, I was like, 'I need to go there!'" said Su Hui.
The Grondskis also mentioned the importance of appreciating the military and host-country family dynamic that the Republic of Korea and U.S. partnership provides.
"We want to build those relationships with our community and also show our Service Members that there's a lot of things to do in Korea," Lt. Col. Grondski added. "We always try to give a taste of what's going on overseas but also to build relationships with the community; and of course for us it's two ways: country to country and faith to faith."