ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- First Army hosted the Rock Island Arsenal's Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Observance here May 25.

The Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Observance is an annual event recognizing the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout this nation's history and the present day.

"Each month we gather here to respect some aspect of our American heritage… telling the story of the nation's patchwork of diversity," said Col. Shawn Klawunder, First Army chief of staff.

Jolene Jang, a street reporter and self-described "culture explorer," was the observance's keynote speaker and shared her experiences with Asian cultures and microcultures around the world. As a three-time past president of the National Speakers Association with a Japanese, Chinese and Swedish family heritage, Jang is a unique voice in the dialogue about America's Asian citizens and influences.
"My mission is really to be able to inspire you to get to know people who are different than you," Jang said.

Also during the program, Indonesian Dance of Illinois, based in the Chicago area, gave audience members a taste of Indonesian dance and traditions.