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NEWS | June 1, 2023

Joint Base MDL unites the community during AANHPI heritage month

By Daniel Barney Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst celebrated Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage month in May to honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans, and civilians of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander descent for their years of countless contributions to the armed forces.

“Behind the significance of AANHPIH, the month of May was selected in recognition of the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the significant contributions of Chinese pioneers to the completion of North America's transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869,” said Gloria Basa, 87th Civil Engineering Group executive officer. “My team and I want to ensure that we celebrate the contributions, cultures, and rich heritage of AANHPI who have served and enriched our nation’s history, around Joint Base MDL.”

The 2023 theme for this observance was “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunity.” Throughout the month, the AANHPI committee hosted a plethora of communal events around the joint base.

“These events were designed to share, inform, and commemorate the AANHPI culture and heritage throughout the community,” said Basa. “My team worked hard and steadfast to make these events fun, exciting, and successful to the public, continuing to enhance JB MDL’s enrichment in cultural diversity.”

The AANHPI committee held a kick-off ceremony at the 87th Air Base Wing lobby, that began with a reading of President Biden’s proclamation. The proclamation spoke to the history and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

The committee also held the 5k heritage relay run and walk. Participants were treated with food and snacks as they lent their support to this event.

AANHPIH month concluded with a closing ceremony held at Tommy B’s lounge. During the ceremony, attendees were being served numerous dishes of cultural cuisine, wore traditional attire, and treated with live performances from entertainers doing various dances representing AANHPI culture. The ceremony served its purpose to celebrate and educate attendees on the importance of AANHPI culture, and how it impacted history around the U.S. and the world.

“I believe that celebrating such cultural observances, like AANHPIH month, will continue to enhance cultural knowledge and diversity, and help further our nation to become a better place to live in,” said Felicitas Shuler, 373rd Training Squadron information systems manager. “Culture and tradition are two main assets that we, as a nation, must always value and embrace. They are what make America so beautiful.”