Celebrate May, Asian Pacific American Heritage

by 2nd Lt. Kay M. Nissen
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Every year, Asian Pacific Islanders find ways to celebrate and share their culture and contributions during the month of May.

I consider myself lucky to have grown up on different Air Force bases throughout PACOM. I am proud to associate myself with Asians and Pacific Islanders, given both my heritage and my upbringing. I was born in Korea at an Army hospital while my father was stationed at Kunsan Air Base. We moved to Yokota Air Base, Japan, shortly after, followed by another move to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

During this time, I remember being exposed to many different Asian and Pacific Island cultures, with my father bringing souvenirs back from his temporary duties to the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and many other places.
Growing up in the Pacific allowed me to learn different traditions and customs through both education and interaction.

Many of these experiences shaped who I am today, and I am glad to know that I am not alone in receiving multicultural opportunities.

This multicultural opportunity found in the military allows service members to embrace our American heritage. I think of “E pluribus unum” (Latin for “out of many, one”) not as a defining motto, but as a goal for all members to strive for.
With every multicultural person I interact with, I find cultures I can learn to love, respect and embrace.

For your own opportunity to learn about the Asian Pacific American Heritage, a luncheon is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in suites one and two of the Ramstein Officers’ Club.

During these celebrations, attendees have the opportunity to taste the different foods from various Asian countries, watch cultural performances and learn more about Asian American history and culture.

To purchase tickets for the luncheon, call Master Sgt. Cate Gaco-Escalera at 479-2620 or e-mail catherine.gaco@ramsetin.af.mil.