Camp Johnson celebrates American-Pacific Heritage month

27 May 2005 | Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

President George W. Bush recently proclaimed May 2005 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and here at the Camp Johnson Marines are sailors gathered at the gymnasium to celebrate the culture in a very traditional way.

Marines and sailors of Islander decent and others conducted an Asian Pacific heritage festival to celebrate their culture.

“In America, we have a lot of diverse groups, and Asian Pacific Islanders are one of them,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Temitope Ayeni, a hospital man with the Field Medical Service School. “There is especially a lot of diversity in the Armed Forces, but more importantly in the country. This helps us understand them.”

Diversity came through with the island-themed party included a flower and palm tree-decorated stage, hula skirt and natively dressed dancers and authentic foods prepared by some of the native service members and families.

Although some of the people who attended the celebration were of Asian Pacific decent, most of them were not.

“It was a very good experience to learn from another culture,” said Pfc. Tyler Barrie of Buffalo, N.Y., a recent graduate of the Supply School at Camp Johnson. “You can learn a lot just from the dancing.”

Barrie, along with several other supply students, performed various dances during the celebration.

“By recognizing fellow Marines and sailors of their heritage and their accomplishments in the Marine Corps and the Navy, you get to learn a lot about different ways of life,” said Ayeni. “Learning about the different cultures is probably the best part of doing this. I’m not from the Asian Pacific, but I enjoyed learning about the different aspects of the life very much.”

Overall, the party was very successful, according to Ayeni. They were very satisfied to be able to have such a good turn out and create a venue for natives and others to share and learn a new culture and witness the celebration.

“It was a great treat to witness the hospitality and entertainment today,” said Navy Capt. Alfred Gonzalez, commanding officer, FMSS. “Asian Pacific Islanders add a great amount of joy and culture to our country.”