Heritage month celebration: Asian-American and Pacific Islander
link U.S. Air Force Photo: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi
Competitors and spectators applaud as partygoers’ hula skills are put to the test July 29 at Cannon Air Force Base. The hula lesson and contest were part of Cannon's Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration.
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
On a balmy day perfectly suited for an island-style cookout, airmen from Cannon Air Force Base and the surrounding community gathered to celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Master Sgt. Yvonne Santos, 43rd Intelligence Squadron first sergeant and event organizer, saw extensive planning come to fruition as the gazebo at Unity Park filled with participants eager to get a taste of Asian and Pacific Islander culture.
A showcase both of the Air Force’s diversity and of individual pride for the nearly 30 countries and ethnic groups spread across Asia and the Pacific, Cannon’s celebration featured a wide selection of Asian foods, martial arts demonstration, hula-dancing competition and volleyball tournament.
The tribute to cultures and traditions from countries as widespread as India, Guam, Mongolia and New Zealand has been observed by Congress since 1977.
While the length and scope of the legislation recognizing AAPI Heritage Month has changed, the spirit has remained the same: celebrating the diversity of the AAPI community and their broad contributions to the United States.
AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated across the Air Force; President Barack Obama kicked off the month with a proclamation:
“Like America itself, the AAPI community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures — each with vibrant histories and unique perspectives to bring to our national life. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders have helped build, defend, and strengthen our Nation--as farm workers and railroad laborers; as entrepreneurs and scientists; as artists, activists, and leaders of government. They have gone beyond, embodying the soaring aspirations of the American spirit.”