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Fort Stewart celebrates Asian American, Pacific Islander month

The 3rd Infantry Division island dancers

Fort Stewart, GEORGIA — Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, hosted the 2020 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Observance at Woodruff Theater May 20 on Fort Stewart.

The key note speaker of the event was Lt. Col Samuel Kim, the 3rd ID chaplain, and the theme was “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future.”

“First, honor the past, where our country is truly a land of opportunities,” said Kim. “Second, honor the past by remembering those whose legacy transcends time. For me, as a 50-year-old chaplain, it is all about securing the future of my children, where their dreams as Korean Americans can truly enrich our American society. If my daughter Kaylee, and all your children from all ethnic backgrounds, can pursue their dreams and make our nation greater as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, that is how we can secure the future.”

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month started with Congress in 1977. A bill, known as House Joint Resolution 540, proclaimed the first 10 days in May to be Pacific and Asian American Heritage week. The observance was expanded to the entire month of May when Congress passed Public Law 102-450 in 1992.

“I am proud that as a nation we acknowledge that diversity strengthens us as people and that we seek to share our values and traditions in order to bring people together,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dane Krautheim, 1ABCT equal opportunity representative. “This year’s theme says it all. It’s important to reflect on the past, and to observe and share whenever possible in other cultural activities than ones that you may identify as so that we as individuals learn about each other and what culture and heritage means in the eyes of someone else.”

May was chosen to celebrate this observance to honor the first Japanese people that immigrated to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to recognize the Chinese immigrants who laid tracks for the transcontinental railroad which was completed on May 10, 1869. Now, we celebrate people from all Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds.

Since 1977, Soldiers of the 3rd ID continue to honor those who have helped build our great nation as well as bring diversity and dynamic experience to our force.