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JBA celebrates AAPIHM

Base members attend the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Event attendees got the opportunity to learn about and taste dishes from Guam, Philippines, India and Japan.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Base members attend the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Event attendees got the opportunity to learn about and taste dishes from Guam, Philippines, India and Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Amata Coleman Radewagen, U.S. congresswoman, gives a speech during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Radewagen is the delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives for American Samoa and is the first American Samoan woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Amata Coleman Radewagen, U.S. congresswoman, gives a speech during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Radewagen is the delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives for American Samoa and is the first American Samoan woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Indian decorations sit on a table during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. In Indian culture, elephants are extremely important and are a symbol of mental strength, earthiness and responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Indian decorations sit on a table during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. In Indian culture, elephants are extremely important and are a symbol of mental strength, earthiness and responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Yuliana Klusmeyer, Balinese dancer, performs during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Balinese dance is a very ancient dance tradition that is part of the artistic expression among the Balinese people of Bali Island, Indonesia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Yuliana Klusmeyer, Balinese dancer, performs during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Balinese dance is a very ancient dance tradition that is part of the artistic expression among the Balinese people of Bali Island, Indonesia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Amytheus Vaa, left, and Braeden O'Donnell, right, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show attendees, participate in a hula dance during the show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. The event began with guest speaker, Amata Coleman Radewagen, U.S. congresswoman, followed by AAPI food and performances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Amytheus Vaa, left, and Braeden O'Donnell, right, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show attendees, participate in a hula dance during the show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. The event began with guest speaker, Amata Coleman Radewagen, U.S. congresswoman, followed by AAPI food and performances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Navy Cmdr. Dave Kneale, Washington Naval Air Facility chief staff officer, reads about countries’ culture, traditions and history during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Base members got the chance to broaden their knowledge about the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Hawaii and many other Asian and Pacific Island countries by reading posters, looking at display tables, trying new foods and observing performances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Navy Cmdr. Dave Kneale, Washington Naval Air Facility chief staff officer, reads about countries’ culture, traditions and history during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. Base members got the chance to broaden their knowledge about the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Hawaii and many other Asian and Pacific Island countries by reading posters, looking at display tables, trying new foods and observing performances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

11th Security Forces Group commander, Col. Troy Roberts and his wife, Jenny Roberts, perform a hula dance during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. The month-long observance was signed into law from a week to a month by the 41st U.S. President, George H.W. Bush, in 1992, and from that year forward, congress permanently designated May as AAPIHM. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

11th Security Forces Group commander, Col. Troy Roberts and his wife, Jenny Roberts, perform a hula dance during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Culture Show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 24, 2017. The month-long observance was signed into law from a week to a month by the 41st U.S. President, George H.W. Bush, in 1992, and from that year forward, congress permanently designated May as AAPIHM. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Joint Base Andrews members recognized Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a culture show at the base theater here, May 24.

The month-long observance was signed into law by the former U.S. President, George H.W. Bush, in 1992, and from that year forward, congress permanently designated May as AAPIHM.

The theme for the 2017 AAPIHM is “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.”

"AAPIs have served honorably in the United States military and in every war since the War of 1812 and continue to serve our Nation admirably today," wrote Anthony M. Kurta, performing duties under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in a memorandum released in April. "Presently there are nearly 116,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders serving in the military and as civilians in the DoD's Total Force. DoD recognizes the tremendous contributions of AAPIs to both the Nation and the DoD mission and is grateful for their unselfish service in securing and protecting our great Nation."

The event celebrated the culture, traditions and history of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who have forged this country’s history.

“This event is significant so we don’t forget Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage,” said Master Sgt. Joseph O’Donnell, 811th Security Forces Squadron executive aircraft security raven programs manager. “I volunteered to help run this event to learn about my Filipino roots and teach others about Asian culture.”


The culture show began with a speech from U.S. congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen.

“It’s my pleasure to be here to help recognize the many contributions and achievements Asian/Pacific Americans have made,” said Radewagen. “I want to encourage [those here] to take what [they] learned today and share it. Asian/Pacific Americans have come a long way, but there is much to be done. I know by uniting our voices together, and increasing our involvement of our people, it will only serve to strengthen this great nation.”

Radewagen, a delegate for the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa, and was elected as American Samoa’s third Member of Congress on November 4, 2014. She is the first American Samoan woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and her party’s highest ranking Asian Pacific elected federal officeholder in the nation.

“We are happy Radewagen came out and spoke at our event,” said Sonny Vaa, Presidential Airlift Squadron aircraft security NCO. “We want to promote diversity and educate the base. Just having Congresswoman Radewagen here will open up people’s eyes that Asian and Pacific Islander Americans are involved not only in the military, but also in many other institutions, including congress.”

After Coleman’s speech, dishes from Guam, India, Japan, and the Philippines, were served for culture show attendees, followed by Polynesian, Balinese and Indian dances, and a martial arts demonstration.

“Our team loved planning this event,” said Tech. Sgt. Kaela Wood, 11th Wing commander’s administration section chief. “Everyone enjoys entertainment and food, but the most important thing about these heritage events is to educate people.”
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