News: HHC soldiers get rare glimpse inside presidential compound
Story by Cpl. Sung Il Choi
YONGSAN, South Korea - U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Headquarters and Headquarters Company soldiers visited the Blue House, Cheong Wa Dae, in Jongno-gu, Nov. 16.
Cheong Wa Dae, which literally means “pavilion of blue tiles,” consists of a complex of buildings built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style. Each building stands on a space surrounded by grass and tall pine trees which prove the long history of the Blue House.
After watching a video of overall explanation of the Blue House and daily life of the president, the company toured some of the main buildings including the Presidential Residence, the State Reception House and the Press Hall.
They were able to enter Youngbingwan, the reception center, where the president holds luncheon meetings with representatives of countries and public figures. The enormous columns sustaining the building were carried as the whole pillar, which enhances the value of the building.
“Seeing in person what I’ve only seen in news is valuable,” said Cpl. Lim Chul-soon from HHC, USAG Yongsan. “I am struck by the magnificence of the buildings and their beautiful interiors. I’m also proud of standing in this divine place as a Korean and the member of HHC, USAG Yongsan. Hope our company can visit other places together.”
Company Commander Capt. Peter Cha also spoke about his first visit to the presidential mansion.
“I am very grateful for this rare opportunity to visit the Republic of Korea’s Presidential Compound. I believe that all U.S. and KATUSA soldiers here enjoyed this experience and will remember it even after their military service in Korea is over.”
The Blue House visit takes about an hour and a half and visitors are allowed to take photos only in designated areas. The tour can be arranged by applying online at http://english.president.go.kr/main.php.