Reflections on Asian Pacific Heritage Month

  • Published
  • By Capt. Lee Akers
  • 642nd Electronic Systems Squadron
On May 31, 1987, Hoang Nhu Tran, a former "boat person" of the humblest beginnings, graduated valedictorian of the U.S. Air Force Academy in a class of 960 students. He is also a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Medical School Graduate. Among the last to get out of Saigon in 1975, Hoang Nhu Tran spoke only two words in English when he came to America, yes and no. Determined and talented he excelled to become the embodiment of the American dream. Hoang Nhu Tran personifies the spirit of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

In 1978 Congress declared the first week of May "Asian American Week". This week was chosen to pay tribute to two historical events: the arrival of the first Japanese Immigrant to America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (primarily by Chinese immigrants) on May 10 1869. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded the holiday to a month long celebration.

Asian Pacific American Heritage month is a time to commemorate the many contributions Asians and Pacific Islanders have on our history and our culture.

Enterprising individuals like Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg, Mass., who is revitalizing the once prosperous city and An Wang, self made billionaire and possibly the most important person in the development of the computer. Theirs are living examples of leadership meeting the challenges of a changing world.

This is a time to celebrate culture, the rich tapestry of the Pacific Islands and the Asian countries. You can explore the culture and participate in Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by attending any of the events at Hanscom or in your community.

The Hanscom community is invited to take part in the following Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities:

Asian Studies Class: May 8, for 6th grade students at the Hanscom Middle School

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month luncheon: will be held May 12, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Minuteman Club. Tickets are $11 for Club members, $12 for non-members. The guest speaker for the luncheon is the Honorable Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg, Mass. Mayor Wong became the first Asian-American and second youngest mayor in the state of Massachusetts when she was elected to office in November 2007. She was born, raised and educated in Massachusetts and is an honors graduate of Boston University.

To purchase tickets for the luncheon or for more information contact Capt. Lee Akers at (781) 377-1185 or Ron Ricamora at (781) 377-8959.

Food Tasting: will be held May 21 at the Chapel Annex at 11:30 a.m. There is no fee to attend but donations are accepted.

Origami Class: will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on May 30 at the Base Library.