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At Camp Henry in Taegu, South Korea, Tuesday, Oficials of the Nam-gu district of Taegu join Camp Henry officials in a tree-planting to mark South Korea's Arbor Day, a national holiday. The officials were guests of Army Col. Donald J. Hendrix, third from right, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry.

At Camp Henry in Taegu, South Korea, Tuesday, Oficials of the Nam-gu district of Taegu join Camp Henry officials in a tree-planting to mark South Korea's Arbor Day, a national holiday. The officials were guests of Army Col. Donald J. Hendrix, third from right, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry. (Galen Putnam / U.S. Army)

At Camp Henry in Taegu, South Korea, Tuesday, Oficials of the Nam-gu district of Taegu join Camp Henry officials in a tree-planting to mark South Korea's Arbor Day, a national holiday. The officials were guests of Army Col. Donald J. Hendrix, third from right, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry.

At Camp Henry in Taegu, South Korea, Tuesday, Oficials of the Nam-gu district of Taegu join Camp Henry officials in a tree-planting to mark South Korea's Arbor Day, a national holiday. The officials were guests of Army Col. Donald J. Hendrix, third from right, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry. (Galen Putnam / U.S. Army)

Master Sgt. Arlita Crawford of Headquarters Headquarters Company, Area I, plants pansies outside the Area I Headquarters on Tuesday.

Master Sgt. Arlita Crawford of Headquarters Headquarters Company, Area I, plants pansies outside the Area I Headquarters on Tuesday. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Soldiers stationed in South Korea dug right into their host country’s Arbor Day festivities Tuesday.

At Camp Henry in Taegu, the U.S. Army held a tree-planting ceremony attended by officials from Taegu City’s Nam-gu district, which includes Camp Henry. The local officials were guests of Army Col. Donald J. Hendrix, Area IV Support Activity commander at Camp Henry.

Camp Henry and Nam-gu officials planted a maple tree in front of Building 1110, a recently built barracks.

Earlier, a Camp Henry public works crew planted two crab apple trees near sidewalks leading to the barracks’ front entrance.

Hendrix’ invitation was the latest move in his drive to forge better relations with the Korean public in Area IV. Such efforts are part of the Good Neighbor Program, launched by the U.S. military command in Seoul in 2003. It requires U.S. military units throughout South Korea to take proactive steps to build good will between U.S. forces and the Korean public.

“Maple tree roots tap deep into the earth, symbolizing our deep-rooted commitment and alliance with the Republic of Korea,” Hendrix said at the ceremony, “and especially our friends and neighbors in Taegu and from Nam-gu district.”

Pak Pan-nyun, Nam-gu council chairman, also spoke, saying: “Today’s commemorative tree-planting event creates sincere and friendly relations between Koreans and Americans.”

Said Area IV chief spokesman Kevin Jackson: “This was a rare opportunity for us to actually host a Korean holiday celebration on our installation. It gives us an opportunity to show them that we understand their culture and that we also recognize their holidays.”

Also Tuesday, South Korean students and U.S. soldiers joined in an Arbor Day project that involved planting hundreds of bushes and flowers at Camp Red Cloud.

Area I Community Relations Officer Kil Kwang-chun said 20 Kyungmin University and 20 Kyungmin High School students and a few U.S. soldiers planted shrubs at the Camp Red Cloud golf course and flowers at the Area I Headquarters building.

The schools bought about $1,300 of plants for the project, Kil said.

“CRC and Kyungmin University have a sisterhood relationship. Every year we have this Arbor Day activity. Last year Area I soldiers visited the school and this year the students came to the camp,” he said.

High school student Ho Jung-Won, 17, planting pansies outside the Headquarters building, said it was her first visit to Camp Red Cloud.

“When we came on post it was like another country,” she said.

Staff Sgt. Colanthia Farmer, 43, of Walterboro, S.C., who serves at CRC with Headquarters Headquarters Company, Area I, helped plant pansies in front of her office.

“I garden back in the States but not since I came to South Korea. It is a nice day out and a stress reliever from work,” she said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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