DVIDS – News – US Marines, sailors stationed on Camp Mujuk celebrate the holidays with local Korean children
CAMP MUJUK, Pohang, Republic of Korea. — U.S. Marines, U.S. sailors, and local Korean children celebrated the holidays by sharing a dinner, participating in contests, and lighting a tree at Camp Mujuk on Dec. 15.
Marines and sailors with Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14, invited children from Sunrin Aeyukwon, Pohang City Dream Start, and Dasom Children’s Center to join in on a holiday celebration. The event included an American barbeque, dance performance, caroling competition, gift exchange, and a tree lighting ceremony.
“We organized this with the intent of supporting the city of Pohang and its children centers,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua FariasJones, a data systems chief with Camp Mujuk. “Pretty much all year long we do a lot with the children centers and Marines here frequently volunteer over there.”
The evening started with dinner, where U.S. and Korean service members, children, and base personnel gathered around to have a traditional American cookout consisting of hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks, and cookies.
“Even though I hardly knew any spoken Korean, I was able to sit down with a teacher and a few children from the schools to just enjoy a meal,” said Lt. Cmdr. Greg Uvila, the chaplain of Camp Mujuk. “I didn’t know how much English they knew, but to just sit in their presence and see their smiles and thumbs up, that’s something I’ll never forget.”
After everyone finished eating, the children from Sunrin kicked off the Christmas festivities with a dance performance, followed by a Tai Chi performance by the Dasom children. For the finale, a cheerleader from Dream Start concluded the string of Korean dances with a solo dance performance.
Once the children had finished, Marines and sailors divided themselves into groups and prepared to perform in front of the children.
Each group sang popular American Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Feliz Navidad.” While some were nervous and hesitant to perform, the children and other attendees began to clap and cheer to bolster each group.
“My favorite memory from the event was the singing competition,” said FariasJones. “The kids were really inclusive and cheered for all the groups, but you could also tell which one they enjoyed and loved.”
One by one each group was presented and announced again, and the children cheered for the group they thought was the best. In the end, the U.S. Marines with Korean Marine-Air Ground Task Force Operation Planning won the crowd and the competition to receive gift cards to redeem at any Marine Corps Community Services installment.
After the cheers died down, the Republic of Korea Army Band made a guest appearance to perform a variety of American Christmas songs and the gift giving began. All 85 local Korean children lined up to receive gifts from Santa and his entourage. These gifts were loaded with American snacks and candies prepared days before the event.
“This year we worked hard to collect as much candy and snacks so that each child would have an equal amount,” said Uvila. “Marines and civilian workers on base were very gracious and donated all sorts of chips and candy to fill these gift bags.”
To cap off the night, all attendees went outside for the tree lighting ceremony. Key leaders of Camp Mujuk led a countdown, and everyone applauded as the tree lit up, casting light in the surrounding area.
“Regardless of race, nationality, and language we bridge the gap into each other’s lives,” said Uvila. “We are blessed by these kinds of events as well, because it is a critical opportunity to use the holidays to come together as brothers and sisters.”
|Date Posted:||12.24.2022 02:08|
|Location:||CAMP MUJUK, KR|
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