JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Patients, staff and family members celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at a ceremony in Brooke Army Medical Center's Medical Mall, May 23.

"I've always said our nation's strength is our diversity," said Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, BAMC commanding general. "What other place in the world can say that?"

Army Maj. Jessica Higa, BAMC neuropsychology fellow and guest speaker for the ceremony, elaborated on that strength in diversity.

"If we look around, if we really open our eyes, be present in this moment, you will see the diversity that's here in this area and throughout this hospital," said Higa.

"Every single one of us has our own story," she added. "We all have our own experience."

Higa went on to discuss how diversity and inclusiveness are key to humanity.

"This powerful message is for all of us," said Higa. "It's not just May. It is not just for Asian Pacific Islanders."

"As I walk these hallways every day, sometimes at night, I see it," she continued. "It's interactions between people, between generations, between men and women, service members and veterans."

"This is what unites us," said Higa. "This is our unity."

Attendees were also treated to a lively ukulele performance by Timothy Kanoia Kamaka.

Kamaka performed Hawaiian standards as well as his own interpretation of pop stars, such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.

Command Sgt. Major Thomas Oates, BAMC command sergeant major, closed the ceremony.

"We have ordinary people that walk the halls of BAMC," said Oates. "But when you invest in those ordinary people, you add something extra to the ordinary, they become extraordinary."