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Yokota celebrates Pacific heritage

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - a time set aside to celebrate Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and for these groups to showcase the diverse and beautiful aspects of their cultures.

On Oct. 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the first 10 days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week.

In May 1990, the holiday was further expanded by President George Bush to include the entire month.

May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843. May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869; the majority of workers that laid the track being Chinese immigrants.

This year's theme is "Pursuing Excellence through Leadership, Diversity, and Unity."

To celebrate this month, the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month committee has put together a number of fun-filled events for the entire family.

There is a 5K fun run at Yokota Field Tuesday from 7 to 10 a.m.

May 19, there will be a Cultural Show at the Yokota High School Gym from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will showcase food, displays, martial arts demos and dance performances from various Asian Pacific cultures.

May 26, there will be a free Asian cooking demonstration and food tasting at the Yokota Commissary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We will wrap up the month with the Asian Pacific Heritage Month Luncheon at the Enlisted Club on 30 May, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with guest speaker retired Maj. Edwyn Saiki.

Throughout the month there will be an Asian Pacific Islander display at the Base Library featuring various artifacts from different Asian and Pacific Island countries.

Furthermore, each school is hosting a poster and essay contest open to all ages. Winning entries will be awarded prizes and will also be recognized at the luncheon.

For more information about any of the events, send an e-mail to 2nd Lt. John Wilson at john.wilson@yokota.af.mil or Tech. Sgt. Michael Jeffries michael.jeffries@yokota.af.mil.