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Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders celebrated

Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders celebrated

Korean Janggu drummers perform a traditional dance at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage luncheon May 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This year’s theme was “Unite Our Mission by Encouraging Each Other.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders celebrated

Korean fan dancers display colorful fans during a traditional dance at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage luncheon May 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This year’s theme was “Unite Our Mission by Encouraging Each Other.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders celebrated

Local karate school members demonstrate defensive moves at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage luncheon May 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This year’s theme was “Unite Our Mission by Encouraging Each Other.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders celebrated

Okinawan Taiko drummers perform at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage luncheon May 30 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. This year’s theme was “Unite Our Mission by Encouraging Each Other.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

An Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage luncheon was held here May 30.  This year’s theme was “Unite Our Mission by Encouraging Each Other.”

Staff Sgt. Juanita Stewart, 96th Maintenance Squadron, gave opening remarks.

“Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month recognizes historical experiences in American history,” she said.  “Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders include many ethnic groups with diverse backgrounds, histories, languages and cultures.”

The dedication of the month to Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities commemorated the immigration of the first Japanese people to the United States, on May 7, 1843, and marked the anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, May 10, 1869.  The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants, Stewart said.

“Generations of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have answered the call of duty with our military, and proudly serve to keep the peace and freedom we all enjoy around the world,” she said.  “By recognizing the achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, our nation celebrates the importance of diversity and inclusion in building a brighter future.“                     

During the luncheon, there were performances by Korean Janggu drummers and fan dancers, Hawaiian dancers, Okinawan Taiko drummers and a karate demonstration.

“The diversity of Asian culture is important to our workforce,” said Mark Crockett, 96th Test Wing vice-director, in closing remarks.  “I hope everyone appreciates the many significant contributions Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders bring to the table.”