By Pvt. Choi Keun-woo (USAG-Yongsan)May 13, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON - Korean children and U.S. Soldiers celebrated Korean Children's Day May 5 at Yongsan Lanes.
"We invited Korean families from the local community to join U.S Soldiers in a bowling game," said Ben Hur, president of the International Cultural Service Club, one of the co-organizers of the event. "One American Soldier was paired with a Korean family."
U.S. Army Troop Command-Korea's Capt. Vincent Rhee organized a group of American Soldiers to participate.
"There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions out there," Rhee said. "But when people have real experiences, many of these misconceptions are found untrue. The Good Neighbor Program hopes to foster better relationship between U.S. Forces and the Korean nationals."
After a round of bowling, the families and Soldiers gathered for pizza and drinks. Some of them exchanged jokes while others tried to put into use some of the English they had learned at school.
"To get a chance to interact with the Korean nationals, I like it," said Pfc. Jamel Perrington, also with U.S. Army Troop Command-Korea, who laughed the whole time bowling with his new Korean friends. "Forming cohesion with a different culture was really fun."
Children's Day in Korea dates to May 1, 1923, when the first Children's Day was held. The purpose of the day was to promote Korean nationalism among Korean children. Today, Children's Day serves mainly to celebrate youth by organizing fun events for children.
"I think it's great, having fun with the Korean children so that they can get used to us and understand that we are good Americans," said Staff Sgt. Coleman Terrance from 8th U.S. Army Transportation Division. "It's been exciting. I'd definitely do this again."