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Air Station observes Asain Pacific Heritage Month

5 Jun 2009 | Pfc. Kel Clarl

The Air Station observed Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the base chapel May 28. This year’s Department of Defense theme was “Leadership to meet the challenges of a changing world.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated in May to memorialize the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Island descent in the United States. It encompasses the entire Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, according to the MARADMIN 0236/09. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S., May 7, 1843 and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad May 10, 1869, where a majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

The dedication and valor of Asian Pacific American men and women can be traced in every American battle since the Civil War. Currently, Asian Pacific Americans bring with them cultural talents and skills that have proven valuable during military and diplomatic events in the Global War on Terrorism. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 325,000 Asian Pacific American veterans that have served our country.

For the Air Station’s dedication to APAHM, the guest speaker was Gunnery Sgt. Sarah Rosa, the data communications chief for the Air Station, who was born in the remote mountain ranges of Taiwan in 1967.

“I was really interested in Rosa’s story,” said Col. John Snider, the Air Station’s commanding officer. “I am happy that I was there to celebrate the dedication with everyone. It was a great way to meet new people and to honor the past.”

Rosa said she was born into a bad community, and that it has been a long, hard struggle to be where she is now.

“I was very blessed everyone came to the event,” Rosa said. “This was an extraordinary way of acknowledging our lifestyles and accomplishments and getting back in touch with who we are as Asian Pacific Americans.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was not only for Asian Pacific Americans, but for those who may not know what they have gone through and endured.

“The president has shown sincere appreciation for us and our journey to get here, and I’m very happy for the recognition,” said Seaman Apprentice Yishen Ma, a religious program specialist with the base chapel. Ma is also from Taiwan.

“This day was meant for all people to have a chance to know more about other cultures,” said Gunnery Sgt. Garcia Galvan, the equal opportunity representative aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. “You have to know where you come from. The more you know about your history, the better you will know yourself.”