13th SC(E) Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month
By Spc Fabian Ortega
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) PAO
The 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) held an Asian Pacific Heritage Month observance at Howze Theater May 31.
Held in recognition of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the observance included performances from members of the Cultura Filipiniana dance troupe and U.S. Tae Kwan Do.
The key note speaker for the event was a former member of the 13th SC (E), retired Sgt. Major Robert C. Borja, who talked to those in attendance about leadership and diversity.
“Because of cultural and language dilemmas, many Asian and Pacific Islanders struggle to assimilate into the armed forces,” Borja said. “One thing I must say… when push comes to shove, these barriers are put aside and the color of diversity is no longer white, brown, green or purple, the color becomes red, white and blue,” said Borja.
Following the guest speaker U.S. Tae Kwan Do performed some dojo and weapons demonstrations followed by members of the Cultura Filipiniana who performed traditional Filipino dances.
Much like Black History and Women History celebrations, Asian- Pacific American Heritage month originated in a congressional bill.
In 1977, representatives introduced a house resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage week.
The following month, senators introduced similar bills to the senate. Both were passed.
In 1978, Pres. Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution designating the annual celebration.
In 1990, the holiday was expanded, President George. H. W. Bush designated May to be Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843 and to mark the anniversary of completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.
The day’s events culminated when Lt. Col. John Waller, commander of the 553rd CSSB, recognized the participants with certificates of appreciation.
The theme for Asian Pacific Heritage Month 2007 is: Pursuing excellence through leadership, diversity and unity.
Two U.S. Tae Kwan Do instructors perform a weapons demonstration with a sword at the Asian Pacific Heritage observance at Howze Theater May 31.