JB MDL Serves Up Culture and Heritage for AAPI Month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joseph Morales
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month committee hosted an annual event to celebrate the month-long observance on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, May 19, 2021. 

The AAPI Heritage Month committee shared food, dances, and traditional clothing of different Asian cultures to celebrate the observance and educate members of Joint Base MDL.

“Our culture and identity are a part of who we are on and off uniform,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Simon, AAPI Heritage Month committee chairman. “When you know who you are and where you came from - learning from your cultures and values - that is a part of being able to find your purpose and become a better leader.”

AAPI Heritage Month was first recognized by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 as the first 10 days of May and commemorates the contributions of AAPI individuals to U.S. history. The theme for this year’s observance event was “Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service.”

“Throughout history, generations of Asian Americans have made big contributions to American history, society and culture,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Oliver Sagun, AAPI event speaker. “May was chosen to be the month of celebration because of several significant events - on May 7th, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States and on May 10th, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed which involved 20,000 Chinese laborers.”

Simon expressed his praises for the AAPI committee and their contribution to the event.

“I was amazed at how it all came through with the volunteers and committee,” said Simon. “This event defines pretty much what this month is about - unity and community.”