JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – May is Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a celebration of the innumerable contributions, vibrant cultures, and rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.”
The observance originated in 1978, when a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843, and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad completed on May 10, 1869.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush designated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
"The history of Asian and Pacific Americans in the United States is a long and honorable one. Determined to uphold America's promise of freedom and opportunity for all, generations of Asian and Pacific men and women have helped this Nation to grow and prosper,” said Bush in his proclamation.
Time and again throughout our Nation's history, AAPIs have demonstrated their dedication to ideals upon which the United States is founded. In times of war and in times of peace, they have faithfully defended the principles of freedom in uniform.
AAPI is a broad term used to describe a diverse and fast-growing population of over 23 million Americans that includes roughly 50 ethnic groups with roots in more than 40 countries including the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Guamanian or Chamorro, Fijian, Tongan, or Marshallese peoples and encompasses the people within the United States jurisdictions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.”
Although 8% of Soldiers in the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade identify as AAPIs, their presence and hard work is critical to the success of the Raptor Brigade and Army team. They bring with them a legacy of courage, service, and sacrifice that helps make our military more lethal than at any point in our shared history.
When we talk about AAPI community, we are referring to two large groups of people who bring a broad and rich diversity to our ranks. Many AAPI cultures form an important part of not only our history as a country, but also our current DNA as a people.
Stay tuned throughout the month as we celebrate the legacy, sacrifice and achievements of the AAPIs in our unit as they share their proud heritage and culture.