YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Memorial Day marks the traditional start of summer, and the Yongsan community has plans to celebrate with a weekend of activities.

"The Memorial Day weekend is important to the U.S. community and is recognized in Korea as one of the top five holiday weekends," said Paul Robinson, director of U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"The name says it all," he said. "We want to celebrate the memory of those who gave their lives in the name of freedom."

Pacific-wide softball tournament

Nearly 700 softball players will converge on Yongsan to play in the 18th annual Pacific-wide Softball Tournament set for May 23-26 at the sports fields at Collier Field House on South Post.

"The one event you do not want to miss is the softball tournament," Robinson said. "We are expecting 48 teams with players coming from Germany, Guam, Las Vegas and Fort Bragg, N.C."

Last year, more than 680 softball players from all over the world came to Yongsan for this traditional tournament. "Get ready for some quality softball," Robinson said.

For information, call 738-8608.

Memorial Day Bash

The Bash, a six-hour event, starts at noon May 24 in the Main Post Club parking lot.

"This is a great event for the kids," Robinson said. "There will be games, booths, and performances that will be a lot of fun."

The Bash includes games, prizes, contests, a flea market, a limbo contest, DJ music and entertainment for the whole family. The grand prize is two round-trip tickets to any city in Korea.

For information, call 738-5254.

Retiree Appreciation Night

The 5th Annual Retiree Appreciation Night starts 4 p.m. May 24 at Harvey's Lounge.

"This is something we do every year for the retirees," Robinson said. "We want them to know we appreciate them."

Free dinner and hats (while supplies last) are available for retirees. The band Boomstick will perform, as well.

For information, call 723-5678.

Other activities during the Memorial Day weekend include:

Sergeants Major vs Colonels softball: The Noncommissioned Officers Association sponsors the Sergeants Major vs. Colonels Softball game 2 p.m. May 24 at Collier Field House Field 2. A donation drive drawing follows the game.

Pools open for summer: South Post Pool 2 and the Hannam Village Pool will open for the summer May 24. Pool 2, located behind the high school, will be open noon to 8 p.m. daily. The Hannam Village pool hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For information, call 738-8608.

"This weekend is a good way to kick off the summer, and we are using it as a launching pad for the Independence Day festivities," Robinson said. "Stay tuned for the 4th, its going to be bigger and better than last year, to include fireworks."