Soldiers celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Iraq
May 30, 2009
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq Aca,!" For Army Soldiers, the month of May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Tamatha Denton, an equal opportunity advisor from New York, with the Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, Army leaders chose May in order to commemorate two significant events; the first immigration of Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843; and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which was built with a large contribution by Chinese immigrants, May 10, 1869. Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was originally designated as the first 10 days of May in 1977, but was later expanded to a whole month in 1990.
Aca,!A"We celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month to commemorate the many contributions that Asian and Pacific Islanders have made to the United States,Aca,!A? Denton said. Aca,!A"Such contributions are noted in the areas of science, math, education, literature, sports and, of course, our armed forces.Aca,!A?
Asian Americans have served with distinction in the U.S. armed forces in the following wars: Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and the Global War on Terrorism, Denton explained. Aca,!A"They have earned 28 Medals of Honor, 22 of which were awarded six decades after their heroic service during World War II.Aca,!A?
For Sgt. Tasha Samuelu, from Pago Pago, American Samoa, assigned to Company A, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., the month is a chance to teach people about her homeland.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a great learning experience for people,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"It shows people our culture. A lot of people donAca,!a,,ct even know where American Samoa is or that it even exists.Aca,!A?
To commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month a celebration was held here, May 22.
The turnout for the event topped everyoneAca,!a,,cs expectations, according to Sgt. 1st Glenn Trinidad, from Honolulu, assigned to Co. A, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div.
Aca,!A"We had planned for maybe 100 people,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"Then all of a sudden the place was overflowing. But thatAca,!a,,cs how it is when we throw parties: we invite our cousins and they invite their cousins and so on.Aca,!A?
Multi-National DivisionAca,!"Baghdad and Multi-National CorpsAca,!"Iraq Soldiers, forming the dance troupe Aca,!A"Toa O SamoaAca,!A?, stole the show with their performance. Toa O Samoa wowed the crowd with their syncopated rhythms and highly coordinated moves.
Aca,!A"We did a mix of traditional and modern dances,Aca,!A? said Trinidad. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs pretty technical, fast-paced and very exhausting going from one dance to another.Aca,!A?
Long hours of hard work were required to achieve such coordination, Trinidad added.
Aca,!A"We started working on it in mid April and a couple of weeks ago, we started doing it every day to make sure we got it right,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"It was a lot of work but it paid off.Aca,!A?
For more than 100 years, Asian-Pacific Americans have contributed to the events that shaped America. For Asian-Pacific Americans currently serving in the armed forces, they are continuing this tradition by carrying the torch of freedom and keeping the country safe.