YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Sept. 28, 2012) -- The Eighth Army commanding general released a first ever video message to the Korean people in honor of Chuseok, Korea's annual harvest festival.

The message will be broadcasted on South Korea's National Defense Television and Radio over the holiday weekend.

Surrounded by South Korean and American troops in military uniforms and traditional Korean attire, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson and his wife Cheryl talked about the importance of the holiday in South Korea.

"Chuseok is a time when our Korean friends and partners connect with their roots," said Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson.

"Traditionally a celebration of the harvest, like Thanksgiving in the U.S., Korean people travel back to their hometowns to celebrate with their families and to honor their ancestors," said Cheryl Johnson.

The Eighth Army commanding general also encouraged U.S. troops to spend time with their families over the long weekend.

"Take some time during this long weekend to celebrate or reconnect with your family and share in the Chuseok tradition with our alliance partners," said Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson.

Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, Chuseok traces its roots back to antiquity and marks the end of the fall harvest season.

From Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, U.S. military personnel are also encouraged to stay off the roads because of the heavy traffic created by the nation-wide exodus of Koreans returning to their ancestral homes.