MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station and local residents took part in the Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration at the Club Iwakuni ballroom here, May 22, 2013.
The celebration demonstrated to station and local residents a part of American culture and how those of Asian or Polynesian extraction contributed to American society.
“Everyone makes an impact in American history,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jana Tang, Headquarters and Headquarters
Squadron personnel officer and event coordinator. Tang cited the president as an example, his humble beginnings in Hawaii and ascension to the presidency.
The celebration consisted of a Taeko drum performance, renditions of the Filipino and Chamorro national anthems and various Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino dances.
“We wanted performances vice a guest speaker,” said Tang. “A lot of times when you have guest speakers, they talk about history. Yes, history is very important, but instead of talking, why not show it?”
The celebration also served as a way for those in attendance to reflect on the personal difficulties those closest to them
“It allowed me to recognize what my family has accomplished,” said Tang. “My mother came here to the United States and she worked hard to get where she’s at. She’s the one who supported me and made sure I was successful. It allows me to appreciate her and everyone who came before me.”
For Tang, who is a mother, she hopes her daughter can appreciate and recognize the sense of admiration in knowing one comes from a proud, diverse people.
“I hope she has a sense of responsibility, appreciation and upholds all that she is,” said Tang of her daughter. “She’s not just Asian American, she’s also African American, Irish and Native American. I want her to appreciate everything her heritage has brought.”
For some, this was a way to be patriotic, in the sense of they are paying tribute to the U.S. through their heritage and giving back to the community, too.
“Several different cultures came together and showed their love for their countries while still being patriotic to the country they’re serving,” said Pfc. Kristen K. Kahalewai, a H&HS fiscal budget technician. “From a Marine standpoint, it’s me giving service to my community. From a Hawaiian standpoint, it’s a way of showing what makes me, me.”
Whether black, white or somewhere in between, Americans are a diverse group. No matter what adjective is placed before that, America is comprised of a multitude of nationalities. It is impossible to recognize all the contributions Americans made. Hopefully, awareness months such as this, allow people to feel a certain appreciation for all the cultures of the U.S.