Military News

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Asian American, Pacific Islander event highlights heritage

by Senior Airman Sam Fogleman
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

6/15/2015 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- In 1978, Congress established Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to U.S. history and culture. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush extended the celebration to the entire month.

On Oct. 23, 1992, Congress officially designated May of each year as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Americans of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry to the rich heritage and cultural fabric of the U.S.

The theme for 2015 is "Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion."

Congress selected May for this celebration because it includes the anniversaries of the arrival in the U.S. of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the first transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, partially by the labor of thousands of Chinese immigrants.

The term "Asia-Pacific Islands" includes the continent of Asia; the Pacific island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia; the island groups of the Western and Central Pacific, such as the Philippines and the Marianas; and Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S. About 5 percent of the population of the U.S. is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

Team Fairchild hosted an Asian American, Pacific Islander Heritage Month event at the Red Morgan Center here May 19 that highlighted aspects of their culture.

Guests were treated to food, martial arts demonstrations and a hula dance.

(Dr. Robert B. Kane, Air University, director of history, contributed to this story.)

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