Say 'Swiss Cheese,' Please: Red and White Colors Decorate the DMZ

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Say 'Swiss Cheese,' Please: Red and White Colors Decorate the DMZ

It was not a typical setting for a party, nor did the guests arrive in a typical mode of transportation. Most of the 200 people invited to last week's Swiss National Day celebration rode buses to the Demilitarized Zone for an outdoor reception at the Swiss camp. Guests included foreign diplomats, Korean politicians and members of the military.

A five-piece band set a festive mood that a bit of rain could not dampen. The Swiss charge d'affairs raised a toast in the hope that the area would one day become "a place of real peace and friendship." Then the crowd - approximately half military and half civilian - broke for lunch, followed by a look at Elsa, a sculpture of a cow by the celebrated artist Lim Ok-sang and designed for National Day.

In Switzerland, people light fires in the Alps on the eve of Aug. 1. The fire-lighting tradition dates to 1291, when the mountainous cantons, or provinces, of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden founded a community, setting a pattern of alliance that was to result in Switzerland.

by Joe Yong-hee

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